For and against Mulcair


Ed Broadbent talks to the Globe about Thomas Mulcair.

“Leadership skills are crucial in holding your caucus together, and I think that Brian has an advantage over Tom in that respect.”

And the Star.

“It’s one thing to be forceful and direct and both Tom and Brian are that, they’re both bilingual, but in terms of demonstrated capacity at team-building, I think Brian is the better candidate,” said Broadbent.

And the CBC.

Asked whether Mulcair understands what a social democratic party is all about, Broadbent said, “I don’t know, that’s what I don’t know.”

And the Canadian Press.

In reality, Broadbent said it was Layton and his inner circle “who put money and resources and developed together a coherent strategy for Quebec before someone named Tom came along.” “It was the federal campaign in Quebec that got Tom elected in the first place in the (2007) byelection and then repeated after in the general election,” he said.

But Gerald Caplan, who managed the NDP’s 1984 campaign, endorses Mr. Mulcair.

I’m persuaded that Mr. Mulcair’s charisma (and he’s the only candidate who has this rare quality), plus the singular mould from which he’s sculpted, the differences between him and all his opponents and indeed between him and all previous NDP leaders – all these offer the hope of breakthroughs where they’ve never been possible before.

Put it this way: Nearly all the other candidates are in the classic NDP mould and will therefore largely offer themselves and the party in the classic New Democratic ways – honourable enough, but largely garnering modest results. Mr. Mulcair, in his very persona, his different political origins, offers something special. He embodies new approaches. It’s his value-added.


For and against Mulcair

  1. I was really surprised to see Broadbent all over the media, mouthing off about  Mulcair.  I guess this comes down to change and party renewal — but the party is already different than it was, just from the election results, and the passing of Jack Layton.  I would think it would provide some positive benefits and pr for the party to take a look at itself and determine a new vision, or else they are indicating they just want to be a strong oppo party forever. 

    • Yeah, but do they really want the new vision to be the Liberals?  And I say this, as a Liberal.  Because my discussions with various NDP members has convinced me in prior years as they don’t want to be us, they don’t like us, they are proud to not be us, etc.

      But I frankly can’t tell the difference between Mulcair and a Liberal.  And not even the good kind of Liberal, but the Liberalness I least like.  I expect we need some small amount of that kind of Liberal within the Liberals, but in the NDP?  Really?

      • Roy Romanow was also really a Liberal, but wanting power and living in SK, ran as NDP.  I didn’t say it must be Mulcair, and personally, I really  think that Cullen might be the best choice for renewal and a future vision. 

        I just don’t think status quo in policy and outlook is going to get them any closer to forming government — or keeping the seats they won last May.  Chantal Hebert wrote a column today saying that Broadbent has poisoned the well for whoever is selected as leader, and I tend to think she’s right. 

        • Unless its Cullen, because he can rise above any divisiveness within the party, along with outside of it.

          But he’s got such a good point when he says Canadians don’t care about the internal party crap–they care about the issues they are concerned about, and whoever is going to address those issues and solve our problems will get the votes.  Sort of like why we have politicians in the first place!

  2. NDP will select Mulcair because he fits template best. Broadbent is just raging against the dying of his light and should be ignored.

    Anjana Ahuja ~ Daily Telegraph:

    Having written a book with a psychologist about how people choose leaders, I know a little about the calculation of allure. I know that voters aren’t always “rational”. They don’t read manifestos, mull over CVs, listen to critics, and place their X accordingly. No, when volunteers in psychology experiments are presented with cleverly designed voting options, they are indecently swayed by such attributes as height, a strong jawline, a gravelly voice, talkativeness – and a Y-chromosome. Just look at our movers and shakers in politics and business – they are disproportionately tall, strong-jawed and male.

    The explanation for this, as my tall, strong-jawed co-writer and I discovered, can be found in our Stone Age brains. Somewhere deep in our psyche, we have a “leadership template” bequeathed by our ancestors. Back in the days when life was feral and strangers meant violence, we sought out leaders who were imposing, physically strong and ready to fight. And what do a baritone voice and a square jaw tell us? That their owner is generously endowed with testosterone, the hormone associated with aggression and strength. So even today, we pick the same sort of leaders our ancestors would have chosen.

  3. The first impression I ever had of Mulcair was during the 2007 by-election in Outremont. My polling station was full of very large, imposing Mulcair campaign volunteers covered head to toe in bright orange and NDP buttons who lingered for the entire time it took to vote (about an hour). Mulcair later joined them for a short while and was there when I left.

    I’m not entirely sure if it broke any laws, but it felt unseemly at the time to have party advertisement 1) inside a pooling place (no other party did so) 2) have said advertisement on what seemed to be Black Shirt-styled thugs who were, knowingly or unknowingly, quite intimidating. 

    You can tell quite a bit about the character of someone by who they keep around them. 

    • Maybe things have changed since 2007, but we were advised not to even wear any red (or certain shades of blue, orange, or green) when scrutineering.

      • Exactly. That’s why this case was so unsettling. The fact that I couldn’t even tell if any other party representatives were there (I presume they were) was what tipped me off that something wasn’t right. 

        I don’t think too highly of games being played with the voting for our government. If Mulcair wins I will not be voting NDP under any circumstances – and this certainly undermines the NDP’s claim to being electorally clean. I can’t support a party where I know for a fact the dirt goes all the way to top. 

  4. Mulcair is effortlessly bilingual, rhetorically proficient, and a slick, smooth-talking politician. 

    However, he’s also prone to egotistic temper tantrums, poor judgment under pressure, and unfortunate scatological outbursts.

    Moreover, Mulcair has an ambiguous moral compass.  After Muclair resigned (or was booted from) Charests’ Liberal cabinet, he was in discussions about joining the Conservative Party before he ultimately settled on the New Democratic Party, which might suggest a certain streak of opportunism…

    • Of all the qualities of Mulcair that you outlined, the opportunistic one is the reason why he should be the next leader.
      But he won`t be. Delegates have already forgot that was also Layton`s best quality.

      • Good point!  I’m not as convinced as you that Muclair won’t make it (though the NDP leadership voting system admittedly favours second, third and fourth choices.)

        However, it’s always good to remind people that before Layton became St. Jack, he was widely recognized as a successful, charismatic opportunist.

        It may turn out that the most important Layton-esque quality that Mulcair lacks is authentic charisma.

        • You`re right about the charisma. The combination of opportunism and a forced charisma is transparent.

          Delegates have some quite tough choices to make in their first ballot next week-end. The wrong choice could send them back to 1990`s levels.A Mulcair leadership would return most of the NDP Quebec seats and lose very few in the rest of the country.

          Any of the three Ont. contenders would likely lose them most of Quebec, but maintain their pre-2011 levels.

          The wild card is Cullen. He could be magic and hold Quebec and make gains elsewhere. Or he could be a flop and lose it all.