The way most Western politicians talk, democracy is the pinnacle of civilization, the best political system there is. Many think it’s the system the rest of the world ought to adopt. Bob Rae is not one of them. He is too well informed about the difficulties and dangers of implanting democracy in foreign lands.
Exporting Democracy is an eloquently argued book in which Rae brings his lively, nuanced understanding to bear on the history and current fortunes of this powerful idea. He shows how it and the related ideas of freedom, human rights, and federalism have been pushed to centre stage by the collapse of Soviet communism and by ongoing wars to topple secular and religious dictatorships in the Middle East. He’s also witnessed attempts to implant democracy in three countries riven by tribal and ethnic divisions, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka, and offers readers a cool appraisal of the effort.
Canada in the Balance
This is a book about the ideas and policies that will dominate Canada’s future. In a world that is getting smaller and more competitive, Canada needs a new set of public policies that will put learning, education, and investment in new technologies at the centre. The vulnerability of the planet itself to pollution and global warming, continuing violence, ethnic conflict, and threats to world peace also put Canada’s place in the world at the centre of a new agenda. Bob Rae’s book is a candid assessment of where we are and where we need to be.
It draws on his deep experience in Canadian public policy at home and abroad, and points to how Canada, and Canadians, can make a difference. From health care to taxes, from poverty to wealth creation, this is a creative and provocative blueprint for change.
The Three Questions
Following his bestselling political memoir, the former premier of Ontario stepped back to consider the subject of responsibility in and for society. Structuring his thoughts on Rabbi Hillel’s famous questions, he explores the roles of government, business, communities and individuals in the new economic and political reality of Canada. He confronts the most basic and urgent question of our time: in this age of globalism, in this period when the gulf between rich and poor is growing, what is our responsibility to ourselves and to others?
Every successful society needs to recognize and reward individual success as well as demonstrate an organized capacity for social compassion. A successful politics will understand that pursuing both prosperity and the public good — finding the right answers to the three questions — is not easy. But the challenge must be met.
From Protest to Power
In January of 1996, when Bob Rae declared he was stepping down as the leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, the media was full of praise for the former premier of Ontario. In From Protest to Power, Rae provides a surprising, frank look back at his time in politics. Shedding light on his rise to power from radical student politics to becoming the leader of the first NDP government to hold power in Ontario. He takes a look at his incredible life from Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and studying with philosopher Isaiah Berlin to his life as a family man.
In the fall of 2006, with Bob Rae running for the federal leadership of the Liberal Party, it is time for us to examine his remarkable life once more. A life that has been motivated by the belief that politics and public service matter. As he says in the new introduction, “I am running because I care deeply about my country. I want it to stay strong. I want it to stay together. And I want to play whatever part I can to help make those things happen.”