APTN National News
OTTAWA--Former Liberal interim leader Bob Rae said Wednesday he was quitting politics to focus on negotiating on behalf of a First Nation tribal council facing the Ring of Fire development in northern Ontario.
Rae said he would be quitting his post as Liberal MP for Toronto Centre on July 1 to focus his energies as a negotiator for the Matawa Tribal Council.
“It has become clear to me that the full scope of the negotiator’s job is no longer compatible with my also serving as a Member of Parliament,” said Rae. “Helping to improve the life of First Nations people has been a longstanding commitment of mine and this opportunity to serve is one I felt I could not decline.”
The Ring of Fire is an area in the muskeg swamps of the James Bay lowlands in Ontario’s north that contains a mining bounty.
Rae said there is a lot at stake for both Ontario and First Nations with the Ring of Fire development.
“How positive that impact could be has yet to be determined and will depend on the outcome of the discussions that are now under way and will only intensify in the time ahead,” he said.
Rae, a former NDP provincial premier in Ontario, ran for the Liberal leadership in 2006 and lost. He then ran in the 2008 election for the Liberals and won his Toronto Centre riding.
He took over as interim leader of the Liberal party after academic Michael Ignatieff resigned following the party’s disastrous showing in the 2011 federal election.