POLITICS

Bob Rae Tribute At Liberal Leadership 'Convention' (VIDEO)

04/06/2013 01:44 EDT | Updated 04/06/2013 08:24 EDT

After nearly two years as interim leader, the Liberal party is saying goodbye to Bob Rae.

Liberals paid tribute to Rae at the party's mini-convention in Toronto on Saturday.

Former prime minister Paul Martin praised Rae, calling him "one of the great leaders of the Liberal party."

Martin also took time to harshly criticize a Conservative government that he said "stifles its scientists and food inspectors" and has adopted an environmental platform of denial. He described the Tories' foreign policy as one of "creeping isolationism."

"Policies should be based on evidence, not ideology," Martin said.

Martin also attacked Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his handling of aboriginal issues and said he was "proud" of Rae's choice to take a job negotiating for First Nations people.

Rae will remain an MP after giving up the interim leadership, but will also be taking the role of chief negotiator for First Nations in Ontario on issues of sustainable development.

The Liberals also showed a video highlighting the most memorable moments from Rae's career (you can see the segment above.) The clip that got the most reaction from the crowd was Rae's famous skinny dip with comedian Rick Mercer (played without the pixelation used on CBC).

"I didn't have any staff with me on that particular trip," Rae said in a speech after the video. "You can imagine how dangerous that can be."

Rae also criticized Harper and the Tories and said Candians feel they "are better than the government that we now have."

"Canada is not a country that pulls out of the UN," Rae said, referencing the Conservative government's decision to withdraw from a UN convention that fights droughts in Africa.

"We're not a country that goes to a meeting to pick a fight, we're a country that goes to a meeting to resolve a fight."

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