Tag Archives: Bob Rae

The Once and Future Liberal Party of Canada

A FEW DAYS to the weekend’s Liberal policy convention, I had a conversation with the former deputy prime minister of Canada at his Ottawa home. Most of it a trip down memory lane (Herb Gray, now 80, holds the record for longest-serving Canadian MP and has a long lane indeed), we covered topics ranging from Indian residential schools to the Polish city of Lublin, only at the end turning our attention to the future of the Liberal party of Canada.

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When the Bookish Finish Last

There is a famous anecdote concerning two nineteenth-century British Prime Ministers and bitter rivals, Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone. The former may be credited with first articulating “Progressive Conservatism” — by way of his 1844 novel Coningsby, or The New Generation — and the latter with both establishing and dominating the British Liberal Party, having ended his affiliation to the High Tories. According to the standard account, Gladstone asserted (doubtless with approval) “I predict, Sir, that you will die either by hanging or of some vile disease.” Disraeli’s response was characteristically immediate, biting, and witty: “That all depends, sir, upon whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.”

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