One of the incredible opportunities of the OLIP experience is the chance to sit down with some of the most influential figures in Ontario and Canada. Needless to say, Bob Rae, the 21st Premier of Ontario, was high on our list of people we’d like to meet.
Mr. Rae was the fourth former Premier we met with and he provided unparalleled insight into his own career and Canadian politics at large. We heard about his early days as a federal MP, his progression to leader of the Ontario NDP, and his many hard fought election campaigns in between. He recounted the conception of the Liberal-NDP Accord that followed the 1985 election, resulting in David Peterson becoming Premier and the end of the 42-year Progressive Conservative dynasty in Ontario. And of course, the period from 1990-1995 was of particular interest to us, for those were the years Bob Rae was Premier after leading the NDP to win an election nobody thought they could.
But Bob Rae’s career in politics did not end there.
It was comforting to hear about Mr. Rae’s transition to becoming a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, (and eventually interim leader). Often throughout this internship it has been difficult to reconcile a passion for public service with the restraints of partisan politics. However, Bob Rae’s experience taught us that with conviction, courage, and authenticity we always have the power to adapt to evolving circumstances and, as interns, to our developing beliefs. It is with this in mind that we continue to discover how we all fit into the world of public service, now and in the future.
Thank you for sharing your story, Mr. Rae.