Dr. Dawg

Rae daze

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In 1990, Bob Rae led the Ontario NDP to victory in Ontario.

He was, and he remains, a forceful speaker, who can ooze concern and compassion when it’s helpful to his cause. Gays and lesbians, who has few rights in the province at the time, flocked to the NDP, taking Rae at his word when he espoused strong support for gay and lesbian rights.

And so came Bill 167, introduced by the NDP in 1994 with much fanfare. Rae talked his usual good game, then tried to get support from the opposition and from a handful of bigots in his own caucus, offering to maintain the heterosexist definition of “spouse,” and drop mention of gay adoption.

Then he announced there would be a free vote.

The ‘phobes won, 68-59. 12 NDPers joined the opposition to gay and lesbian rights. Dismayed gays and lesbians were violently cleared from the gallery by police wearing latex gloves.

One of the NDP dissidents was Giorgio Mammoliti, now a far-right wingnut on the Toronto city council. A second was Fred Wilson, a so-con who was permitted, even after voting against the bill, to retain his post as government whip.

Obviously this is a shame that we in the NDP have to live with, but there’s no cause for Liberal gloating. Of the 35-member Liberal caucus, only three were able to overcome their bigotry in that infamous vote.

Later Rae complained that the gays and lesbians wouldn’t “compromise.” On basic human rights!

Fast forward to this very evening (I’ll update this post tomorrow once the stupidity of Motion 312 is over with for the moment.) Once again, Rae has been speaking impressively out of both sides of his mouth—opposed to this anti-woman motion, but once again permitting a free vote. The rights of women, he says, should be up to the “consciences” of his overwhelmingly male caucus.

His predecessor and former roommate Michael Ignatieff had been just as two-faced in 2010 on the related issue of maternal health abroad, allowing a de facto free vote as well.* Iggy thus ensured that the Conservative opposition to contraception and abortion would prevail. His own party’s motion was defeated, 144-138. It had been introduced by Bob Rae.

Iggy is no longer a political force, if he ever was one. Canadian voters instinctively know selfish ambition and phoniness when it’s right in front of them. But Rae is still kicking around, flogging the dead horse known as the Liberal Party of Canada, dreaming of being Prime Minister some day.

And, as in 1994, he’s still a coward.

*Ignatieff pretended to have been taken entirely by surprise. But later that year, he played the same two-faced game again.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 26, 2012 6:23 PM.

Political advocacy and foreign influences: get cracking, CRA! was the previous entry in this blog.

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