… that Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae became friends at the University of Toronto in the 1960s, and spent a year as roommates in a flat above a shoe store near the campus?
—When the Gods Changed: The Death of Liberal Canada
by Peter C. Newman
Excerpt from When the Gods Changed:
They both graduated in 1969, and both applied for the Rhodes scholarship like their fathers before them; this time, Rae received it and Ignatieff didn’t. And thereby hangs a tale. The third mutual best friend of their college days was Jeff Rose (who later became president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees). He told me that so profound was the friendship between the two young men that Ignatieff stepped aside in favour of Rae. Since Rhodes scholarships are non-transferable, what must have happened was that either Ignatieff chose not to apply, improving Rae’s shot at the few spots allotted to Canada per year, or that Ignatieff did apply but dropped out for the same reason. Ignatieff went to Harvard instead, which was not without cachet, but at the time the Rhodes was the top prize. When I asked Ignatieff about it, he confirmed his intent but wouldn’t discuss the details. Read more.
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