Rae Rallies Liberals Against Softwood Deal
Date: Sunday, July 16 2006
I'll vote for anyone that will take on NAFTA, the CCCE, call the Fraser Institute what it is (democracy destroyer) and cancel its charitable status, and the Chambers of Commerce. 4Canada
Globe and Mail Update
Liberal leadership hopeful Bob Rae is calling on party MPs to oppose the controversial softwood deal with the United States even if it means a snap election before the party has elected its new boss.
Mr. Rae made the comment Friday, shortly after Prime Minister Stephen Harper said a vote on the softwood issue, expected in the fall, would be considered a confidence motion. Such a motion, if defeated, would lead to the collapse of the government and a certain election.
I don't see how Parliament in all conscience could recommend the deal or accept it, Mr. Rae said in an interview.
I hope very much that the Liberal caucus would defeat it.
Mr. Rae said parliamentarians cannot allow Mr. Harper to dictate the terms of Parliament's survival, especially if it means a bad deal that hurts the industry and other Canadians. The Liberal leadership should not determine the caucus's position on an issue of such fundamental importance.
If Mr. Harper wants to play roulette with it, that's up to him. I think we have an obligation to be an effective opposition party and I just think if Parliament were to get buffaloed into this, it would be very wrong.
Mr. Rae noted that, despite the fact that the leadership won't be decided until early December, the views of the various candidates are already known, and memberships have been cut off. The selection date can be changed if necessary, he said.
If we have to make changes in our internal arrangements because of decisions that Parliament makes, we can't let our internal election determine what a substantive decision is by the caucus, said Mr. Rae, who is former counsel to the Free Trade Lumber Council.
[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on July 17, 2006]