He’s just a likable guy - intelligent, affable, articulate. I liked him when I voted for him as Premier. I liked him even after he and his former party managed to bankrupt Ontario (ok, c'mon - the recession didn’t help). I really liked him when he ran for the Liberal leadership. I might have even voted for him had I been there.
I especially like what Bob Rae just wrote for the Globe & Mail today:
Why something called the spending power matters
When Stephen Harper was president of the National Citizens Coalition, he signed a manifesto known as the "firewall" letter: Keep the federal government out of Alberta, and let the province run its own affairs.
Whether firewalls or watertight compartments - that the federal government and the provinces live in their own worlds and never the twain shall meet - Canada's leaders have been engaged for generations in an ongoing discussion about who does what.
What's different today is that, for the first time in our history, we have a prime minister and a cabinet talking openly about giving up the game for the federal government.
You may recall my post on this very subject last week, when Stephane Dion warned that this would be an issue in the upcoming Throne Speech. Rae goes into far more detail, and his arguments are dead on.
Whether introduced by Conservatives (progressive or otherwise) or Liberals (in majority or minority governments), our history as a country has been marked by moments of a pan-Canadian vision led by federal governments with the support of Parliament and people.
This is what Mr. Harper wants to end, either by constitutional amendment or federal-provincial agreement. For the first time, we have a national party - the Harper Conservatives - ideologically committed to a fundamentalist misreading of our history and Constitution, and a separatist party only too happy to reduce the Canadian government to a marginal role, just before, in their sad dreams, it disappears altogether.
Go read the whole thing, and then decide if the Liberals shouldn’t just bring these bastards down. Immediately.