Carleton University bestowed an honorary Doctor of Laws on The Honourable Bob Rae today in recognition of his distinguished public service and his commitment to social justice and equity.
“This is a truly fitting recognition for a lifetime of leadership,” said Carleton President Roseann O’Reilly Runte. “We celebrate Dr. Rae’s commitment to community and country.”
“I’m extremely grateful to the Senate of the University for conferring on me this degree,” said the former Ontario premier and federal Liberal leader.
Rae then spoke about the importance of strong public leadership in Canada.
“Today, Canadians are not very impressed with politics, politicians or even the idea of public service,” said Rae. “Having spent my entire career in politics and public life, I feel compelled to defend that life and to commend it to all of you. If good and talented people retreat from public life, public service and even electoral politics, the void will be filled by someone who is usually less talented, certainly less vigorous, and often less virtuous.
“The great challenge of our time, which I would summarize as how to create a widely shared and deeply sustainable prosperity at home and around the world, requires leadership and commitment. And while it might pay less than Bay Street or Wall Street, its rewards are many,” said Rae, who is now working with First Nations groups.
“There are great challenges ahead for Canada and the world, and I have lost none of my enthusiasm for the battles that lie not behind, but ahead. As I become more immersed in the challenges facing the indigenous people of Canada, I realize that while I have left Parliament, I have not left politics.”
Rae also addressed the passing this week of political opponent – but respected colleague – Jim Flaherty.
“He was not so partisan as to be unaware of the ironies of life or the fact that, even in the heat of debate, things need to be put in perspective.”
Rae was the keynote speaker at the 60thanniversary banquet of Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA), hosted by the SPPA Student Society at the National Arts Centre on March 14, 2014. He spoke to students about the challenges faced by policy makers when trying to form good public policy.
About Bob Rae:
Bob Rae was elected 11 times to the House of Commons and the Ontario legislature between 1978 and 2013. He was Ontario’s 21st premier from 1990 to 1995, and served as interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011 to 2013.
He is now working as a lawyer, negotiator, mediator and arbitrator, with a particular focus on First Nations, Aboriginal and governance issues. He also teaches at the University of Toronto School of Governance and Public Policy and is a widely respected writer and commentator.
Author of four books and many studies and reports, Bob Rae is a privy councillor, an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Member of the Order of Ontario and has received numerous awards and honorary degrees from institutions in Canada and around the world.
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