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Ontario NDP Leader Bob Rae addresses the annual meeting of the Nova Scotia NDP Party in Halifax, N.S. on Aug. 18, 1985. Rae, former interim Liberal leader and one-time NDP premier of Ontario, is resigning as an MP, winding up a political career that stretched over 35 years and two parties.

Michael Creagan/The Canadian Press

Former Liberal interim leader Bob Rae is leaving politics in order to devote himself to work on behalf of First Nations in northern Ontario. The 64-year-old Rae's unexpected announcement caps a political career that has spanned 35 years and two parties. Here are some key events in his life and career:

  • Aug. 2, 1948: Rae is born in Ottawa to Saul and Lois Rae. Saul’s career as a diplomat would take the family to Washington and Geneva.
  • 1956: While living in Washington, Rae delivers newspapers and calendars to earn spare cash, including to then vice-president Richard Nixon and Democrat senator Estes Kefauver. Rae said his preference for left-wing politics took root when Kefauver tipped him $20, while Nixon’s wife Pat handed out tips of 10 cents.
  • 1966: Rae begins studies at the University of Toronto, where he befriends and ultimately becomes roommates with eventual political rival Michael Ignatieff. He also gets his first taste of student government by organizing a show for the university’s Literary and Athletic society that ran up a sizable deficit.
  • 1968: Rae first becomes involved in federal politics by helping out Pierre Trudeau’s campaign team at the Liberal convention and then joining the campaign team of Toronto MP Charles Caccia.
  • September 1969: Rae heads to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He remains there until 1972 completing a graduate degree in philosophy.
  • 1973: In the throes of what he describes as a depression, Rae begins working at a legal aid centre helping poor tenants and then at a housing centre for those seeking affordable accommodation. His time there cemented his commitment to social democratic policies.
  • Sept. 1974: Rae returns to University of Toronto to study law. Over the next few years he begins practising labour law and joins the NDP, finally deciding to run for a seat in the House of Commons.
  • Oct. 16, 1978: Rae is elected as an MP for the east Toronto riding of Broadview-Greenwood after winning a byelection.
  • Dec. 12, 1979: While serving as NDP finance critic, Rae proposes a vote of non-confidence that ended up toppling the Conservative government of Joe Clark.
  • Feb. 23, 1980: Rae marries Arlene Perly, who he had been pursuing on and off since meeting her on the U of T campus in 1968.
  • September 1981: Rae decides to jump from federal to provincial politics by running for the leadership of the Ontario NDP.
  • Feb. 7, 1982: Rae becomes Ontario NDP leader
  • May 29, 1985: An accord between the provincial Liberals and NDP, spearheaded by Rae, goes into effect and replaces the newly elected minority Progressive Conservative government. Under the terms of the accord the NDP would agree to support a Liberal government for two years, while the Liberals in turn promise to implement some NDP policies.
  • June 1988: Rae donates bone marrow to his younger brother, David, who was suffering from leukemia. The donation was ultimately not able to save David’s life.
  • Sept. 6, 1990: Rae is unexpectedly elected Premier of Ontario in a snap election called by incumbent David Peterson. He becomes the first NDP politician to helm a province east of Manitoba, taking the reins of a majority government.
  • April 1993: Rae tables days off without pay for public service employees, a measure that came to be known as Rae Days. They were hugely unpopular and led to a long-term split with the labour movement that had formed the backbone of NDP support.
  • Jun. 8, 1995: The Ontario NDP government is decimated in a provincial election that saw PC leader Mike Harris take the top job. Rae was one of only 17 NDP MPPs to be elected.
  • Feb. 7, 1996: Rae resigns as party leader and York South MPP and returns to the private sector to practice law. He remains out of politics for the next several years.
  • 1998: Rae resigns his membership in the NDP.
  • Apr. 5, 2006: Rae applies for membership in the federal Liberal party and announces his candidacy for party leadership a few weeks later.
  • Dec. 2: Rae places third at the Liberal leadership convention, ultimately losing to Stephane Dion.
  • Mar. 17, 2008: Rae regains a seat in Parliament as a Liberal MP after a byelection.
  • December 2008: Rae, who had originally planned to run for the Liberal leadership again following the party’s electoral defeat from earlier that year, withdraws his candidacy and allows Michael Ignatieff to take control.
  • May 25, 2011: Following an even more dramatic electoral rout for the Liberals, Rae becomes interim leader of the party after agreeing not to seek the permanent leadership.
  • Dec. 11, 2012: Rae suggests in an interview with The Canadian Press that he is not sure he’ll run in the next federal election, slated for 2015.
  • Apr. 14, 2013: Rae is officially replaced as Liberal party leader when Justin Trudeau pulls off an expected landslide victory in a leadership convention.
  • June 19, 2013: Rae surprises the Liberal caucus by announcing that he’s resigning his House of Commons seat in order to focus on his new role as chief negotiator for First Nations communities in talks with the Ontario government to develop the Ring of Fire mineral deposit in the province’s north.
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