Monday, August 14, 2006

Call Me Dead: Bevilacqua Drops Out and Joins Rae

It looks like Maurizio Bevilacqua has dropped out of the Liberal leadership race and joined Bob Rae. Bevilacqua, in his leadership bid, focused on Canada's economy, said that he represented "generational change" and said that he wanted to shift the Liberal party (further) towards the centre-right.

Liberal blogger Jason Cherniak writes in his blog that he is shocked that Bevilacqua would join the "centre-left" Bob Rae.

But is Rae "centre-left"? I'd say that this perception comes from the fact that Rae used to be the NDP premier of Ontario (oops, wrong person to place as head of the Ontario NDP). As they say however, "people change."

So I decided to have a look at Rae's website, and checked out how he looked on the issues. Well, there was a lot of fluff about how Rae would support everything, yada yada yada. His statements on the Middle East, National Aboriginal Day, Women, Kelowna, and a United Canada sound like the usual Liberal rhetoric. His position on Softwood Lumber and Afghanistan sounds more of a "left-wing" position. But it's Rae's Vision for Prosperity and Opportunity, Building a Prosperous Future, and Trading with the World that caught my attention. In these sections, Rae calls for "Smarter Taxes and Regulation" (ie: code word for less), calls for continued "fiscal discipline" and talks about how our natural resources give a "competitive advantage" but we need a more educated population. However, what is very interesting at the end is that Rae mentions Edmund Burke, a philosopher of the right.

So it looks like that Rae on the issues is pretty much all over the place; however, the language that is in it seems quite "right wing" to me. But I'll admit, you cannot find out much about someone by reading a fluffy statement that is designed to capture interest of Liberal members that are all over the political spectrum.

However, if the right wing Bevilacqua is moving to Rae's campaign, it stands to reason that they share similar ideologies (and yes, Rae has an ideology despite his claims that he does not). That should sound off warning bells for anybody on the left.

Let me make a prediction: Rae, if he become leader of the Liberals and Prime Minister, would be the most right wing Liberal Prime Minister yet. But how come? Well it would be the same principle as "Only Nixon could go to China."

Update (1:10 PM): A later post from Cherniak guesses that Greg Sorbaba, a provincial Ontario Liberal in the same area as Bevilacqua, brought Rae and Bevilacqua together. It's still interesting, through, to try to figure out what kind of backroom deal brought Bevilacqua to this point.

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