Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae says he'll remain a Liberal MP, but hasn't decided yet whether he'll run for re-election in 2015, as he wraps up his time running the party ahead of a two-week break.
Rae told reporters after the Liberal caucus meeting that he will stick around as the MP for the riding of Toronto Centre, but he hasn't decided yet about whether to run again in 2015.
The outgoing interim leader also suggested he won't be hanging over the new leader, trying to give advice.
"I'm not going to be crazy Uncle Bob coming down from the attic every once in a while to make a speech to the kids," Rae said.
"It's not my intention to do that. It's really up to the leader to decide, and the leader will take stage, and I accept that — that, you know, there are times when you're on the stage, and there are times when you're doing something else. And I've had my moments.… I'll be doing whatever that new leader wants me to do."
Rae's post-caucus scrum has been a ritual on weeks the House sits since he became interim leader after Michael Ignatieff stepped down in 2011. Ignatieff resigned the party's leadership following the May 2, 2011 election, which saw the Liberals reduced to third-party status in the House of Commons.
Appreciate media efforts 'to trip me up'
Rae was in good spirits, telling reporters he thought the party had managed to stay in the game the past two years and joking about his departure from the party's top role.
"I think many of you were predicting that we would be marginalized, that nobody would turn up for any scrums, that no one would be asking any questions," Rae said. "And look at you all. You're here today, just as you have been so loyally every week over the last two years. And I appreciate your constant efforts to trip me up.
"I think we've been able to return a good spirit in the caucus and in the party, a good spirit of unity, a good spirit of real solidarity, of people working together."
Rae was first elected to the House of Commons as an NDP member in 1978, before moving to Ontario provincial politics and becoming the province's first NDP premier in 1990. He returned to the House as a Liberal MP in March 2008, in a byelection.
Despite a controversial time as premier from 1990 to 1995, Rae went on to become a mediator, handling a dispute over fishing rights in Burnt Church, N.B., and chief negotiator for the Canadian Red Cross in its restructuring.
Rae says he's talking to northern Ontario chiefs about working with them on negotiations with the provincial government for revenue sharing as the Ring of Fire mining projects plan is developed.
Rae cleared to work on Ring of Fire talks
Earlier this month, the conflict of interest commissioner approved Rae to work with the Matawa First Nations as a negotiator or mediator on the resource development while he's sitting as an MP.
"A lot of times people assume that there's a problem when there isn't a problem," Rae said of his request to the ethics watchdog.
"Farmers are allowed to farm, pharmacists are allowed to own a pharmacy, and by profession I'm a mediator and a problem-solver. That's what I got paid to do when I was a lawyer in private practice, and I asked the conflict commissioner if there was any problem and she said not in this instance."
MPs can't further their private interests through their outside work, he said, "but I won't be doing that."
Rae says he hasn't been paid yet for possible work on the file.
The outgoing interim leader said he's proud of what he's done in the past few years, pointing specifically to forcing a debate on access to clean water in Canada and several debates on mental health.
"I'm proud of the fact that we had several debates and discussions on mental health I don't think we would have had if we hadn't been prepared to lead the way and perhaps my having led the way a bit has helped in that direction.
"I hope that I've been able to contribute to a good dialogue in question period … I hope being able to engage the prime minister and other ministers in good unscripted discussion on what needs to be done."
Speaking to reporters at a leadership campaign event at Ryerson University in Toronto, Justin Trudeau said he was "incredibly proud" of Rae's work both in Parliament and behind the scenes, "making this transition period for the Liberal Party more than just a transition period, but a very serious beginning of the kind of rebuilding and reconnecting with Canadians... that we're going to need to demonstrate over the coming years as well."
"There's going to be all sorts of things to miss, but for me, he's not going anywhere, he's sticking around and he will continue to be an important member of caucus that I will certainly lean on," Trudeau added.