Here we are, just under 3 weeks to go until we New Democrats, who joined prior to Feb 18th, elect our new Party Leader, who will serve as the head of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and in 2015 as Prime Minister of Canada, fate willing. This race hasn’t received too much media coverage because, well compared to the entertainment our neighbours to the south are providing in the Republican race, the NDP race has been polite and well to be honest rather vanilla, but hey I’ll take polite minor disagreements in policy any day over the clamour of the Romney/Anybody But Romney race the GOP is having. The race in general reminds of the Liberals 2006 race, with its large slate of candidates but with a couple of frontrunners. Hopefully we won’t see a repeat of the end of that race.
While I’d be satisfied with any of the seven as victors i do have my preference. I’ve considered myself undecided for most of the race but I’ve always been leaning to one candidate in particular, but I was keeping my mind open, however I am ready to finally and firmly declare my support for this person. As the title of this blog spoils: I am going to be voting for Thomas Mulcair on March 24th.
Why you may ask? Quite simply i believe him to be the most qualified and most effective of all the candidates and believe he will do the best job at guiding the party to the next elections where he can hold on to expand our gains across Canada, becoming the official government of this great country.
Yes, he did work under fromer Progressive Conservative Minister Jean Charest as a Liberal member of the Quebec National Assembly. But if you wanted to be a federalist in Quebec provincial politics, at the time you didn’t really have a choice. Yes Brain Topp, did work on federal NDP campaigns in the 80s, and helped with Phil Edmonston’s campaign, where he became Quebec’s first elected NDP member and Mr. Topp worked with him in Ottawa, but Edmonston is endorsing Mulcair. Though with his acrimonious exit from the party, I’m not sure how much a relationship with him helps either of them. Tom has been elected to the National Assembly or Parliament 7 times, the most out of any of the leadership candidates. No, the leader shouldn’t have to be sitting MP but Jack and Alexa McDonough, had experience as a city council and unsuccessful federal candidate, and provincial leader of the part respectively. He also served 3 years as Environment Minister in Jean Charest’s government in Quebec, plus being Finance Critic and House leader, and deputy leader under Jack. Mulcair has consistently been one of the best in the leadership debates. He brings a steadying influence and experience to a young and inexperienced caucus, especially our Quebec contingent and just generally he knows how to win, so having that at the helm going into 2015 (or earlier) is invaluable.
Just recently an attack on Mr Mulcair has surfaced, stating that he was willing to run for the Federal Conservatives in exchange for a cabinet position.Lawerence Martin has a good article here explaining it, in better words than I probably ever could. Tom Mulcair has been honest that he was approached by all 3 parties to run for them. If it really was ambition that motivated him more than principle he probably would’ve run for the liberals in 2007 bi-election, because at the time I doubt anyone saw such a complete free-fall ahead, and would’ve bet on them on the better road to governance than us “Dippers”. But he spoke at our 2006 conference, which some members of my local executive were at and say he was excellent, and ran for us and won Outremont from the Bloc, becoming our 2nd elected Quebec New Democrat. I’d say he’s damn well proven himself, and we need to put this nonsense about his loyalty to rest.
Though a good deal of Mr. Mulcair’s support obviously comes from Quebec, but he has been able to reach out and gather support from coast to coast. he has some pretty significant backers behind him like former BC premier Mike Harcourt, former Nova Scotia opposition leader, current MP and ex-leadership candidate Robert Chisholm. Academics, MLAs, MPs, and Union leaders from coast-to-coast have publicly endorsed Tom Mulcair as the best choice to lead the party into the next election. Though has “Premier” Christy Clark proved caucus support isn’t the best measuring stick, thus Tom’s other support plus the fact he has some traction on the ground, I know other members of our local party executive are supporting him too. Thus I believe he gain grow the party to further our historic gains and form the next Canadian government.
Speaking of growing the party, we come to one of the knocks on Mulcair; he’s too centrist. This seems to me, other party members and other’s I’ve talked to or read, to mostly have been a perception created by the media and his opponents in the race. He maybe further to the right of say Topp or Nash on somethings, but hey so am I. What he most seems to be trying to do is modernize the NDP, and fully move us from holding the balance of power, at most, and being a minor party to a party fully ready to govern all this great country. Something I heard from John Horgan during the BC provincial NDP leadership race was “Most people are new democrats, they just don’t know it yet.” So how are we going to wake people up to this fact do if we keep using the same old rhetoric we’ve been using for the last 50 years as the NDP, and even before that as the CCF? Its seem to me, that is exactly what some of the other leadership candidates are proposing. Which in my opinion would be a step back from Jack did, not the step forward we should be taking. here is yet another article, discussing Mulcair’s modernization approach to marketing in the party. Yes, we may end up looking slightly more like the liberals but if we had taken a quarter of the Liberal’s vote we’d like just have a conservative minority government and with everything going on, a likely chance at an early election. Ideally we’d like to grow our vote by reaching out to those apathetic people, who didn’t cast a ballot last may, but its something to think about. While Mulcair is in favor of greater cooperation with the LP, he isnt’t in favor of a merger or even Nathan Cullen’s proposal, of joint nominations, (who I also really like, even if I’m not fully in favor of his plan), though I have been impressed with Bob Rae’s job as party steward, though I probably shouldn’t admit that publicly.
As Such Mulcair can keep our gains in Quebec, he’s a fighter who is often characterized as a “Firebrand”. Good we need someone to hold the Harper government’s feet to the flames when they do something wrong. Thomas Mulcair is experienced, charismatic, intelligent and has my vote for Jack Layton’s successor.
If you want to see more about Mulcair’s policy here is his website