National Newswatch

Friend, Mentor and Gentleman: Remembering Bill Graham

Aug 10 2022 — Bob Rae — The death this week of former foreign affairs minister Bill Graham has rightly given rise to many tributes and prompted the sharing of many memories. After a number of health challenges, Bill’s passing was not a complete shock, but for many of us, especially his wife Cathy, his family and many close friends, it has […]

Putin’s War: Truth and Consequences

Apr 28 2022 — Bob Rae — Vladimir Putin’s disastrous decision to launch what he has called a “special military operation” against Ukraine on the night of February 24, 2022 has generated death and mayhem throughout Ukraine and yet-to-be-fully-understood damage to the world’s economy. It has also raised basic questions about the nature of the modern world and its institutions, including the […]

A Defining Moment for the United Nations

Mar 20 2022 — Bob Rae — Vladimir Putin’s decision to escalate his illegal war against Ukraine has created a global turmoil as serious as any the world has experienced since the end of the Second World War. It raises the most fundamental questions about the nature of the world order, and will force a major reassessment by every country in the […]

Remembering Bill Davis

Aug 8 2021 — Bob Rae — When I heard the news about Bill Davis’s death on Sunday morning, many memories and thoughts came to mind. Despite the two-decade gap in our ages, our friendship grew and strengthened over many years. When I was a student at the University of Toronto, I would head across Queen’s Park to sit in the gallery […]

Myanmar’s Struggle for Democracy

Feb 11 2021 — Bob Rae — At the end of August, 2017, a simmering conflict between the Rohingya population of northwestern Myanmar and the government of that country came to a head. The narrative of the government and the army (known as the Tatmadaw) was that a number of coordinated terrorist attacks led to a response from the army, and that […]

Canada can pursue diplomacy and the rule of law at the same time

Dec 9 2019 — Bob Rae — When Richard Nixon and Pierre Elliott Trudeau – two very different politicians – made the decision to open diplomatic relations with the Communist government in China in the 1970s, they did not do so because they were under any illusions about the nature of the Chinese government. It was not a love affair based on […]

Successful minority Parliaments require goodwill, humility

Oct 29 2019 — Bob Rae — There are few phrases more apt to create a chill than “hung Parliament.” It implies confusion, delay, obstruction and a general dither that no one is really in charge and “nothing gets done.” But the reality in Canada and elsewhere is that Parliaments where no one party controls a majority can actually be productive and […]

Bob Rae responds: ‘At some point, the lies have to be answered’

Jun 1 2018 — Bob Rae — Amid criticism on the campaign trail of his time as Ontario’s premier, Bob Rae defends the legacy of his NDP government. The first of 1st-century Jerusalem scholar Rabbi Hillel’s famous three questions put it most succinctly: “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?” There are many who suggest that for […]

How to turn Canada 150 into a celebration for everyone

Jul 2 2017 — Bob Rae — A birthday should be an uncomplicated, joyous celebration. Yet for Indigenous people the celebration of the passage of the British North America Act and the union of four provinces, which is known as “Canada Day,” is no great cause for celebration. And this, in turn, annoys many non-Indigenous people, who can’t understand why “Canada 150” […]

History teaches tough lessons about opposing diversity

Mar 12 2017 — Bob Rae — A mere 47 years ago I was sitting in Sir Isaiah Berlin’s office with a young American political scientist Joe Femia. A little awe struck to intervene much, we would both write short papers and discuss them. In one of our first classes, we were expressing some frustration in “getting Hegel.” Later we formed a […]

How Canada can lead on the global stage

Mar 5 2017 — Bob Rae — President Trump’s speech to Congress this past week has received praise because it seemed less off kilter than his recent Twitter pronouncements and spontaneous performances. True, he didn’t throw up on stage or physically assault anyone. He even had a couple of “shout outs” for Canada and Justin Trudeau. But, in substance, it is the […]