Monday, April 10, 2006

I Ain't No Rae Fan!

As much as I'm sure Bob Rae will be a significant contribution to the Liberals in the renewal process, leadership contest, blah, blah, blah; I would encourage anyone who is thinking of supporting him in the leadership bid to think long and hard.

The best way to anticipate future behaviour of an individual is to look at past behaviour and seriously, how can anyone be expected to be enthusiastic to support of a potential leadership candidate who only purchased a party membership last week? I mean, the reason why most of us know Rae is because he was the NDP Premier of Ontario.

Not only is he known as an NDP Premier, but like the BC NDP Party, he managed to completely screw over his Province and there are many reasons for this:

1. The Party Rae led was inexpreinced and poorly managed Ontario's recession, turning it into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

2. Rae's Party backtracked on several campaign promises, most notably the introduction of public auto insurance.

3. A number of scandals in cabinet and caucus, and disagreements among the party and its supporters.

4. Rae's government initially underestimated the extent of the North American recession. Their first budget projected a deficit of almost ten billion dollars, and enacted a series of spending programs to mitigate the worst effects of an economic lag (Keynesian Economics - very out of date). Unfortunately, the monies provided for in the budget were insufficient against the recession, and did not create enough productivity. Thomas Walkom, from the Toronto Star, described the budget as "the worst of both worlds" - angering the business community, but not doing enough to provide for public relief. For many, the budget reinforced the popular stereotype that the NDP are irresponsible spenders.

5. The government changed its economic focus after 1991, and implemented budget cutbacks to control the province's mounting deficit. His government also brought in the Social Contract, austerity legislation which reopened collective bargaining agreements with the province's public sector unions. This legislation imposed a wage freeze and introduced what became known as "Rae Days", giving civil servants (including teachers, doctors, nurses, etc.) ten days off without pay per year.

6. These cutbacks led to a falling-out with both the public sector unions, most notably Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) along with its leader, Buzz Hargrove. Sid Ryan, Ontario President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, referred to the Social Contract as the worst labour legislation he had ever seen.

7. This breach between the NDP and organized labour struck at the party's foundations. The NDP was founded as an alliance between the old Cooperative Commonwealth Federation and the labour movement, and Rae's policy decisions alienated many traditional NDP voters. Thousands of members resigned from the party, and several unions turned against the NDP and vowed to defeat the government in the next election.

8. Rae continued to dissolve his Party when he decided to approve casino gambling for the province was also opposed by many in the party.

I hope this is sounding alarm bells to my readers. As a Liberal, I want to have a leader elected who can round up our team and lead us into victory against Harper's Conservatives in the next Federal Election. I highly doubt Rae is going to be the guy to do this. He effectively managed to screw Ontario, his Party crumbled internally under his leadership and support for the NDP fell to historic lows in Ontario during his tenure.

In the 1993 Federal Election, the NDP fell in support to 6% in Ontario. One day after the election, defeated parliamentarian Steven Langdon called on Rae to resign as Premier. Langdon had openly campaigned against the Rae government's austerity measures, and received a higher percentage of votes than any other NDP candidate in the province.

So this is why I plead with you - if you are thinking of supporting Rae, think long and hard. He'd be the easiest target for the Tories and he would be tremendously unpopular in Ontario, BC and Alberta. Canadians don't want Rae in power and neither do I.


At 11:03 AM, Blogger S.K. said...

Pedro,that whole future behaviour based on past behaviour comment is pretty funny coming from an Iggy suporter. I guess we better get our troops ready to invade Iran if he wins.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still waiting for BC Scandal Part II. Hope you have not changed your mind. If so, who got to you?

At 2:50 PM, Blogger Pedro said...

SB: Maybe you should read some of Iggy's material. There are so many issues at stake here and you are simplifying it too much. Your argument is:

War = Bad

But sometimes war is necessary. What would we be doing today if we hadn't fought WWII? We'd be speaking German.

Iggy's support for war is an ethical one - or should I say, the least of the evils.

I've been speaking with my political hack buddy in Ottawa and he's starting to convince me that it's not all bad and that I'm blowing things out of proportion. May be you can convince me back? I know it's off topic, but I'd love to hear what you have to say.

At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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