Boy Stalin rides again

Robin Sears, who earned his nickname “Boy Stalin” as then NDP premier leader Bob Rae’s chief of staff wrote this stunner of a commentary trashing the people who signed that open letter against Andrea Horwath’s current campaign plan/platform. I now understand much better where the moniker comes from.

He calls the letter writers “embittered NDP pensioners,” “yesterday’s losers” and the “aging commentariat.”

Yes, people are going to lose friends over this.

For my part I feel the Bob Rae years have taught me well.  And the fact that it’s some of the same people in the mix today (though I’m such an outsider to this whole business I have no idea if Sears is part of the NDP campaign team or not), confirms my expectations.

In the event Horwath is the next premier of Ontario we can expect the same sort of stuff.

Which is fine. The lesson I learned  from the Rae government is that the work of eliminating poverty, advancing workers’ rights, fighting racism, sexism and homophobia must continue apace. Because we cannot expect much from an NDP government.

This time, at least, the NDP isn’t offering much either. I credit them for that. Truth in advertising is worth something to me.

These days all I hope for is that the government reduces the pace of the slide into barbarism and environmental destruction.

I hope also, that the Horwath team have also learned from the Rae government that the corporations and the actual elites (not the union leaders, advocacy and academic types Sears denounces) will come at them hard to abandon whatever progressive measures they do attempt to implement.

Oh – and one last thing  I learned is that if we “trade unionists sliding slowly into political irrelevance” heed those – like Sears – who tell us that we can’t criticize “our” party we end up leaving all public space and discourse to the right, with disastrous effect.


  1. Good post Chris. The sad lesson that I came to grips with in the 1990s (particularly after Rae and my time living in El Salvador) is that we really can’t depend upon anything from political parties for the simple reason that power is a self-replication force and that the worst kinds of people are the very ones who strive for power. I also learned the sadder fact that those on the “left” who gain positions of power are often, if not usually, greater enemies to the cause than the rightwing who they are supposed to oppose, because they not only replicate the same kinds of power dynamics but they end up de-legitimizing the very cause that we are fighting for.

  2. Well done, Chris. Sears reminds me of the types that Blair unleashed when he castrated the Labour Party. All those earnest policies so fervently and steadfastly advanced for so many decades tossed in the dumpster to clear the way for modern cynicism and the pursuit of power. I respected the NDP for its beliefs. It didn’t dawn on me how cheaply they were held.

  3. Sears earned the nickname “Boy Stalin” years before Rae was elected in 1990 when Sears was NDP Provincial Secretary and Bob Rae’s chief of staff in the 1980’s. Sears was not involved with the Rae government and spent those years in Tokyo as Ontario’s chief trade diplomat in Asia.

    • You’re right Paul. I should have looked that up. Sears was chief of staff during the Liberal-NDP Accord government, which I always remember fondly. I pulled out my copy of Giving Away a Miracle. Not sure it changes my opinion of him.

    • Chris: my information comes from Giving Away a Miracle George Ehring and Wayne Roberts’ book about the Rae government in Ontario in the early 1990s. You can find it at online used book sellers but it’s not an ebook that I can see. Roberts and Ehring devote several pages to Sears, but attribute the nickname to a then NDP researcher, Graham Murray, one of a number of staff that Sears pushed out of the then opposition caucus office.

      • Thanks, I’ll check that book out. Good title!

        My uncle (Jim Wiseman) was an MPP in the Rae government. Sears’ recent antics have caused him to reflect again on the frustrations of those years. I was too young then to remember anything that happened, but I’ve heard a few revealing stories. Think I’ll have to pick his brain again!

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