Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rae for interim leader

Confirms he will run for interim leader in a statement that is unifying and optimistic:
Colleagues and friends,

I want to advise you that I am willing to let my name stand for the position of interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. It is my understanding that this issue will be discussed by the caucus on May 25, 2011, and by the national board of the Liberal Party before the deadline of May 30.

After the worst election defeat in our history, it is vital that we come together as a party, and engage directly with Canadians about what matters to them. The pursuit of social justice and a sustainable prosperity in a united Canada has to remain our focus. We cannot afford to get caught up in internal wrangling.

Canadians want a progressive party that is committed to building the country. At our best we can be that party. We have to be the party that can take the country forward.

The task facing us is great, but you know I am a “glass half full” person. We have a talented and hardworking caucus in both the House and the Senate. We have much goodwill in the country. There is a strong need for a party that is not caught in the trap of ideological excess. We need to use the talents of every member of the Liberal team right across the country.

I shall abide by any rules about the interim leadership, agreed to by the caucus and the Board. I have made it a watchword of my time in public life to practice the politics of unity and principled compromise. I shall continue to do so.

The party has to make a choice between having a leadership convention soon, and having a period of rebuilding and then a leadership 18-24 months from now. I favour the second option, and that is the context within which I would accept the appointment as Interim Leader. If this longer period is agreed to, it is my understanding that the exact timing of the leadership election will be recommended by the caucus to the national board.

I look forward to discussing these issues with you in the days ahead.

Hon. Bob Rae

MP for Toronto Centre
With emphasis added above to one of the key messages.

Additionally, despite some talk about a future run for permanent leadership, should he do well as interim, he's ruling that out explicitly: “I’m not planning to run for the long-term leadership.”[...] A permanent leader has “got to be prepared to commit to a decade and it’s a decade of work. I think that’s obviously a factor in my decision, as it would be in anybody’s decision.” Partly why putting a leadership race well down the road is a good idea. Candidates committed to a long haul need to have appropriate time to consider taking on such a major challenge.

I also agree with the key Jim Munson comments here: “We need to be on the page and I think he recognized that he was the person that had to be on the front page, had to be talking about what those of us who believe in the party feel.”

Marc Garneau is still in the running for interim leader, let's not forget, although it does appear Rae has a lot of support among the MP caucus and the Senators. Hopefully this will be resolved by the 25th and the party can get to work and put some of the leadership distractions behind it.