It doesn't come as a complete surprise that Bob Rae has decided not to run for the Liberal Party leadership. Every politician has his "best before date" and Rae must have realized that his best years and his best opportunity to lead the Liberal Party back to government have come and gone. Rae's stepping aside will leave open the opportunity for generational change in the party.
Gossip about the political future of acting Liberal boss Bob Rae seems to appeal to precisely two sorts of people: the gossips themselves -- who were in full force this weekend -- and Bob Rae. Meanwhile, Toronto City Council's Wednesday night decision to ban plastic bags from Hogtown supermarkets will provoke some manner of "national discussion" on the issue.
Another week, another "will he or won't he" media look at Bob Rae and the Liberal Party. It has yet to sink in to for some Liberals that the leadership is a poisoned chalice and the "brand" is profoundly damaged and must be substantively redefined.
As we approach the month of June, the Liberal party will soon be making a decision on when to hold their next leadership convention. With roughly a month to go, there doesn't seem to be much interest from the public in what they do or, for that matter, what they decide. Clearly at this point in time the NDP offers voters the biggest contrast with the governing Conservatives; the Liberals still don't seem to fit in anywhere.
I am writing this while gazing out upon a farmer's field that has just had 1,500 baby red pines planted upon it. You have to squint to notice that the rows of little green tufts are anything other than early weeds taking advantage of the spring sun. I think the tiny trees, however, are a fitting symbol for our mutual Christian and Jewish holidays, celebrating -- indeed embodying -- the renewal of God's earth and spiritual rebirth.
Meanwhile, a resurrection of another kind was taking place in Ottawa -- Trudeaumania 2.0. With Justin Trudeau's definitive smackdown of Senator Patrick Brazeau in last Saturday's charity boxing match, it was as if the national media decided to read a lot into Trudeau's third-round win. As in: Were they thinking now that the young Trudeau -- and the Liberal party -- might rise on the third day also?
People who live 4,500k from the Toronto-Danforth riding read in the Vancouver Sun just last month that the Liberals were in a position to win; they'll now be reading about a "lacklustre, no name, uninspiring dud" candidate who blew the Liberals right out of the water. Imagine what that does for confidence in the Liberal brand.
Mike Crawley's day job as chief of International Power Canada poses a significant risk to the Liberal Party and makes his calls for grassroots inclusion ring hollow. His power company has had a devastating impact on Ontario residents who are forced to live in the shadow of Crawley's work.
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae implies Lise St-Denis switch to the Liberals is an act of principle and conviction. Phooey. If anything, it seems an act of opportunism because the NDP is going nowhere in Quebec. Anyone who thinks the NDP won't lose seats in Quebec in the next federal election is smoking something that is illegal.
Canadian political life in 2012 will be anything but dull: uncertain economic times that could either strengthen or weaken Conservative support; two opposition parties in flux, fighting for influence and voter support; and a new leader for the NDP and the Conservative political machine.
The Liberal Party is choosing to financially disadvantage the little guy in favour of big corporations that own media outlets by charging them to attend the Liberal convention in 2012. The decision demonstrates a lack of recognition of the impact bloggers have on social media and by extension, public opinion.
There are obvious potential caveats to the open primary system, but right now, with a party backed up against a wall with no place else to go, there aren't really a multitude of options. I applaud Mr. Rae for having the bold initiative to think outside the proverbial box.
We all want more social safety, but these initiatives won't get us there. Instead, the Conservatives are prepared to spend billions on policies that have long been discredited, and have no hope of any tangible return on investment.
Canadians remember the discussion that Jack Layton initiated on improving decorum and civility in the House. The question now becomes, how are the honourable members living up to their noble words?
We are a nation that flies economy, drinks Tim Hortons and wears khaki and plaid. But Gen. Walter Natynczyk's situation is, and should be, different. He needs to be a walking paradox -- a warrior and a diplomat, a genius with a common touch, a workaholic who never seems tired.