Report suggests that Bob Rae could retire from politics as early as this summer

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Lost in the midst of last week's Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy and Senate controversies was this story by the National Post's John Ivison.

Ivison, who is not usually one to spread idle rumours, suggests that interim Liberal leader Bob Rae could soon be walking away from politics.

There is a great deal of speculation inside the Liberal Party that Mr. Rae is not prepared to play second fiddle to anyone, and certainly not Trudeau Jr. He is said to be talking to a number of universities about life after politics.

“He has no plans to leave and is happy to have a conversation with the new leader to see what role he can play,” said a Liberal spokesperson.

But stories of his political departure do not seem greatly exaggerated.

If the speculation comes to fruition, Rae would be ending a political career that has spanned four decades in which he was an NDP member of Parliament, an NDP premier of Ontario, a Liberal MP and finally the interim leader of the federal Liberal party.

[ Related: Liberal leadership race hasn’t helped the party, pollster says ]

While some may decry his financial record as Ontario's premier or chide him for being a political turncoat, Rae has performed admirably as Liberal leader. He has been an effective adversary to Stephen Harper in the House of Commons and, as a result, has kept his now 'third party' in the news. In 2011, he was even voted as 'Parliamentarian of the Year' by his HoC colleagues.

One of his former colleagues says if Rae leaves it would be a big loss for the Liberals and a big loss for Canada.

"He is arguably the nation's most articulate and thoughtful public figure," former MP Dan McTeague told Yahoo! Canada News.

"I worked with him on Consular files in Opposition and can only say that his compassion for Canadians in difficulty abroad was rivaled only by his wealth of knowledge and international contacts which help facilitate the objective of getting our own out of harms way," he said.

"If the story is true....Canadians will not longer have the benefit of a respected voice who's more than compensated for the Liberal Party reduced, albeit temporary, standing in the House of Commons."

[ Related: Liberal leadership candidate says vote for me, even if you don’t “think of yourself as a Liberal” ]

Whoever wins the Liberal leadership will definitely have some big shoes to fill.

And he or she may have to lead without the benefit of Rae's experience.

(Photo courtesy of Reuters)

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