06/14/2012 03:39 EDT | Updated 08/14/2012 05:12 EDT

Will The Female Bob Rae Please Stand Up?


This article was co-authored by Semra Sevi and Mahsa Alimardani.

Bob Rae's decision not to seek the position of permanent leader of the Liberal Party was a dignified one. He ran for the leadership position twice before -- in 2006 and 2008 -- and lost both times. This was a dream job for him and he became leader of the party in the worst possible way after the Liberals suffered an embarrassing defeat in 2011.

Bob Rae is an accomplished person who has served Canada with diligence and deserves respect for his decision not to run for the permanent leadership. Rae is not a quitter and this decision was undeniably a very difficult one to make.

"It was a difficult decision to make, it wasn't a slam dunk. It was a matter of weighing things as carefully as you can and saying, on balance, this is what I think is in the better interest of the party than otherwise," Rae said.

Rae is doing exactly what he promised to do from the beginning of his mandate. As such, it comes as no surprise that he reached the conclusion that he did. He kept his promise and more politicians should follow suit.

A recent poll for Postmedia News and Global Television suggests that a majority of Canadians see the Liberal party as a "party of the past, not a party of the future." However, in politics nothing is ever black and white. The astonishing orange wave that overtook the 2011 federal elections is perhaps the best evidence of this sudden turn in politics.

The NDP best utilizes the youth appeal in Canadian politics. Every election season brings with it a new cadre of eligible voters. While these voters are not necessarily politically active they are also not married to any particular party. The Liberal party should make better policies aimed at these young voters.

With Rae out of the picture, the liberal leadership race is wide open. The spotlight is on Quebec MP Justin Trudeau even though he has repeatedly said he is not currently planning to run.

The Liberal Party needs a new face to rebuild the party and grow with it. If Trudeau does not change his decision, liberals across the country should encourage and put their support behind a young bilingual woman to run for the position.

The way forward for the Liberal Party is to rebuild in the best possible way. It's time to end the old boys' club mentality. Liberals are given an opportunity to show this to Canada by breaking down barriers for women in politics. They should encourage and support a young woman that is enthralling, modern and able to connect with the young for the position. The Liberal Party has many capable tremendous women who need encouragement and support to put their names on a ballot.

While there has been a growth in female candidates and elected MP's in the Liberal party, we think they should be assigned important roles as ministers and should be encouraged to run for the leadership. Women in politics of important positions will create a more democratic political system. It's not about the increased numbers but rather it's about their status within the party. This is a forward party. What better time than now to show this to Canadians?

An active and lively leadership race is waiting ahead.