National Newswatch

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 […]

As Trump takes over, hold on to your hats

Jan 18 2017 — Bob Rae — He may be “illegitimate,” a bully, or a sneering loudmouth. He may have lost the popular vote by a wider margin than any other electoral college winner in the history of the republic. But Donald Trump will be sworn in as 45th president of the United States on Friday and Americans and the rest of […]

Addressing indigenous issues requires change at every level

Jan 1 2017 — Bob Rae — The election of the Trudeau government raised many hopes and expectations in the indigenous community and its supporters. For the first time since Paul Martin we had a prime minister who gave much time and attention to indigenous issues. The release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) full report set out an ambitious agenda, […]

Ottawa faces great challenge in dealing with Trump

Dec 28 2016 — Bob Rae — The election of Donald Trump in November was not what the Justin Trudeau team expected. In that regard they are no different from most Canadians. The Liberals and Democrats had built a strong relationship, in good measure encouraged by the links between U.S. Republicans and the Conservatives under Steven Harper.

Why a Canadian biofuels industry remains smart public policy

Nov 30 2016 — Bob Rae — When I was elected premier of Ontario in 1990, the province and the country faced many tough challenges. Canada was in the midst of a major recession. Ontario was hit particularly hard. At the same time, there were long-term, underlying challenges that could no longer be ignored. I came to office with an ambitious environmental […]

FBI director showed bad judgment

Nov 8 2016 — Bob Rae — Canadians will recall the bizarre decision of RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli to respond publicly to an open letter he received from an NDP Member of Parliament in the middle of the 2005-06 election campaign. Why bizarre? Because it’s a long-standing policy of both police agencies and their political bosses never to comment on the nature […]

Hostage negotiations: There are no simple answers, just harsh dilemmas

Jun 14 2016 — Bob Rae — Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion have kept their answers to questions about two captured Canadian citizens murdered by Abu Sayyaf terrorists short and simple: Canada does not pay ransom to terrorist kidnappers. It only feeds their appetites. The best way to fight this wave of violence is to say no. […]

Farewell to Jim Flaherty, a fellow practitioner

Apr 10 2014 — Bob Rae — The genuine outpouring of emotion on the news of former finance minister Jim Flaherty’s sudden death is a reflection of the political life that the public does not always see. It is sad that it takes a death to lead us all to say things that should be said more often.