Ambassador Bob Rae

Cape Breton University is delighted to honour and recognize a man who has spent his life’s works changing and challenging the political landscape of Canada during his time in Parliament and who has worked tirelessly as a leader in human rights issues, Ambassador Bob Rae.

Mr. Bob Rae is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in New York. Mr. Rae served as Premier of Ontario from 1990-1995, and interim Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011-2013.

As a lawyer in private practice, Mr. Rae led the restructuring of the Canadian Red Cross, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and chaired the board of the Royal Conservatory of Music. He also wrote “Lessons to be Learned” on the Air India bombing, and “Ontario a Leader in Learning” – a study of the Ontario higher education system.

In 2008, Mr. Rae returned to Parliament for the constituency of Toronto Centre in 2008, which led to his appointment as Foreign Affairs spokesman for his party and his election as interim Leader in 2011.

Between 2013 and 2020 he taught law and public policy at the University of Toronto, and was a partner and senior counsel to the law firm OKT LLP, specializing in indigenous law and constitutional issues. In 1997, Mr. Rae became a founding board member of the Forum of Federations. He went on to serve as Chairman and President of the Forum, and advised many governments and groups on issues of constitutional change, the rule of law, federalism and devolution. He remains a Senior Fellow of the Forum.

Mr. Rae is also a Senior Fellow at Massey College and the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights. He served as the Chief Negotiator for the Nine First Nations members of the Matawa Tribal Council in Northern Ontario between 2013 and 2018.

Bob Rae is a Privy Councillor, a Companion of the Order of Canada, a member of the Order of Ontario and has numerous awards and honorary degrees from institutions in Canada and around the world. In addition to several government reports, he is the author of five books. Along with music, reading, and writing, he loves tennis, golf, and fishing. He is married to Arlene Perly Rae, writer and public advocate on issues affecting women and children. They have three daughters and five grandchildren.