Speaker Profiles

The Honourable Bob Rae

The Honourable Bob Rae


Liberal Party of Canada

Bob Rae is the Liberal Member of Parliament in the federal riding of Toronto Centre.  He currently serves as the party’s critic on foreign affairs. Most recently, he ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada in 2006 and 2008.

Bob Rae served as Ontario’s 21st Premier, and has been elected ten times to federal and provincial parliaments.
Mr. Rae has a B.A. and an LLB from the University of Toronto and was a Rhodes Scholar from Ontario in 1969. He obtained a B.Phil degree from Oxford University in 1971 and was named a Queen’s Counsel in 1984. Mr. Rae has received numerous honorary degrees and awards from Canadian and foreign universities, colleges, and organizations.

Mr. Rae was appointed to Her Majesty’s Privy Council for Canada in 1998 and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000, and appointed an Officer of the Order of Ontario in 2004.

From 1996 to 2007 he was a partner in the law firm, Goodmans LLP one of Canada’s leading international law firms. Mr. Rae’s clients included companies, trade unions, charitable and non-governmental organizations, and governments themselves. He has extensive experience in negotiation, mediation and arbitration, and consults widely on issues of public policy both in Canada and worldwide.  He remains connected with the mediation and arbitration firm of ADR Chambers.

Mr. Rae is the past president and founding Chairman of the Forum of Federations and served as Chairman of the Institute of Research on Public Policy (IRPP).  He was chair of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and is the Chairman Emeritus of the Royal Conservatory of Music, as well as National Spokesperson of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. He was the Chief Negotiator of the Canadian Red Cross Society in its restructuring, and also served as a member of the Canada Transportation Act Review and the Security and Intelligence Review Committee for Canada.  He has served on the boards of a number of public companies and charities.  He was Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University from 2002 to 2007.
Mr. Rae completed a review of Ontario’s Postsecondary School Education for the Ontario Provincial government, with a report entitled Ontario: A Leader in Learning, which in turn led to significant policy and budgetary changes. 

In the spring of 2005, Mr. Rae was appointed a special advisor to the Canadian Minister of Public Safety on the Air India bombing of 1985.  His report, Lessons to be Learned was published in November of 2005 and led to his further appointment as Independent Counsellor to the Prime Minister of Canada.

Mr. Rae’s books From Protest to Power, The Three Questions, Canada in the Balance, and Exporting Democracy are published by McClelland & Stewart.

Mr. Rae is Senior Fellow of Massey College in the University of Toronto.

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