NDP’s Thomas Mulcair plans to focus more on Trudeau in stump speech

All three leaders are expected to amp things up in this, the post-Labour Day phase of the election campaign

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair shakes hands with aerospace workers as he makes a campaign stop in Montreal on Tuesday, September 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair shakes hands with aerospace workers as he makes a campaign stop in Montreal on Tuesday, September 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

TORONTO — NDP Leader Tom Mulcair planned to open the post-Labour Day phase of the election campaign Tuesday night by inserting a little more Justin Trudeau into his stump speech.

Mulcair aimed to highlight what he called the Liberal leader’s “inexperience” at a rally in downtown Toronto, according to an advance copy of the address obtained by The Canadian Press.

The New Democrat leader is clearly trying to differentiate himself from his rival on the centre-left. The extra attention paid to Trudeau, confirmed by one campaign insider, comes as polls point to a tight, three-way race that also includes Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

In the speech, Mulcair criticizes Trudeau for voting for a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage and then campaigning against it.

He also targets Trudeau for announcing a Liberal government would run several years of deficits, and for voting in favour of the Harper government’s anti-terrorism legislation — Bill C-51 — after initially opposing it. Trudeau has pledged to amend Bill C-51, if elected.

“Is that the change we need?” says Mulcair’s speech, which also contains its standard criticism of Harper’s decade in power.

“How can Canadians trust a person who so easily abandons one principle for another?”

Mulcair’s speech was to be delivered on a day the NDP unveiled its campaign plane. All three major parties now have their planes, and the campaign is expected to amp up following the long weekend that marks the unofficial end to summer and vacation season.

Before the planned rally Tuesday in the crucial battleground of Toronto, Mulcair’s stopped in another important area for the NDP: Montreal.

At the city’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport, Mulcair demurred on revealing costing details of his program, which contains several pricey commitments.

He said he reveal all the revenue sources and costs in due course — and only after the NDP announces a few more promises.

“None of the major parties has yet provided their full accounting, but of course the NDP will be doing that,” said Mulcair, who also pledged Tuesday to invest $160 million over four years to help the Canadian aerospace industry.

“You can be sure that we’re going to produce exact accounting on all the numbers in our platform.”

The New Democrats have promised to balance the books next year if they win power in the Oct. 19 election despite several big-ticket spending promises, such as Mulcair’s plan to create one million $15-a-day child-care spaces. That program would eventually cost $5 billion annually once fully implemented in eight years.

His balanced-budget pledge has come under attack by his rivals, who argue a weakened economy means he will be forced to pay for his pledges by hiking taxes and cutting services.

Mulcair has said the NDP would pay for its commitments in part by cancelling the Conservatives’ $2-billion-a-year income-splitting measure for families with kids, and by raising corporate tax rates _ though he has yet to specify by how much. He has also announced he would close a tax loophole on CEO stock options.

On Tuesday, Mulcair promised to help the aerospace industry, a sector that has seen hundreds of layoffs this year.

He said he would set up a $160-million, four-year fund to help small- and medium-sized aerospace companies adopt new technology and increase production. The plan would require firms to show how they would create jobs and provide professional training to workers.

Mulcair also committed to $40 million over four years for the Canadian Space Agency’s development program to help companies commercialize new space technologies, and said he would lead trade delegations to help promote the industry.

“Canadian aerospace innovators and manufacturers need a prime minister in Ottawa who will be a champion for the them on the world stage — and I will be that champion,” Mulcair said in Montreal, a hub for a sector that hosts the headquarters of companies such as Bombardier and CAE.

In May, Bombardier announced it was laying off 1,750 employees in Montreal, Toronto and Ireland, while CAE said last month it was cutting 350.

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NDP’s Thomas Mulcair plans to focus more on Trudeau in stump speech

  1. A political stump speech is a standard speech used by a politician running for office…..not interested

  2. This is no doubt what Harper hoped for all along. In the last election, Layton’s attacks on the Liberals carried much more weight that anything the Conservatives could come up with. However, there is a very significant difference in the dynamics. The Harper Conservatives look to be headed for the mid twenties in support and there is little indication that there are a hoard of Liberal supporters that would jump to the Conservatives. That said, the support for getting rid of Harper is much stronger than the support for either Trudeau or Mulcair. As a result, if either Trudeau or Mulcair are perceived as straying from the priority of regime change then the electorate may well punish them.

    I also think Mulcair’s choices are flawed. Certainly he has a great depth of experience as a former provincial Liberal cabinet minister. However, now he is the leader of the NDP. I believe that it is a good thing when politicians of any strip take a stand for their principles and walk across the aisle, however it is clear I am in a tiny minority. Most Canadians perceive floor crossing as a betrayal of the voting public and hence the worse kind of flip-flop.

    The federal minimum wage is a small issue. In trying to make it seem larger, Mulcair has indicated an intent to push the provinces to adopt it as well. It is already clear that is not going to happen. I like the concept of a living minimum wage across the country, I like the idea of refining our natural resources here, I could live with abolishing the Senate. None of these things are going to happen, and highlighting areas where the NDP’s policy is more aspirational than operational does not draw me towards them.

    In contrast, Bill C51 is an important issue that will change the way Canadian live their lives. Like most Canadians, I want better security without a diminishment of my rights. Mulcair’s original position was that Bill C51 was too flawed to support, BUT that an NDP government would introduce new legislation that enhanced security with appropriate safeguards. Trudeau’s position is that our security must be protected BUT that a Liberal government would modify the bill to add appropriate safeguards. So if I focus on the final outcome, it certainly appears both parties are headed towards the same type of compromise. Given the details matter and it would be very enlightening if both parties would articulate how their proposed legislation would look, but our state of political debate in this country would never permit that during an election.

    Politically however having the Liberals voting for C51 and the NDP vowing to balance every budget has been a political opera. Harper has proven he can stay in power even with the majority of Canadian against him. He has done this by grabbing and promoting a wedge issue with resonates with 30-40% of Canadians and using it to push his personal support into that range. Todate, every issue he has attempted this with in 2015 has split Trudeau and Mulcair, leaving Harper on the wrong edge of the wedge. Very interesting political theatre.

  3. Thing is, it’s not just CEOs that make use of stock options. Workers in start-ups (typically high-tech) are usually given options when they join to make up for the long, demanding hours that they are expected to put in. If the company goes IPO the options the worker had now have real value. If the company goes under, as most do, the worker gets nothing.

    So, Mulcair’s plan to take away the tax advantage of options, contrary to what the NDP says, will affect many more than just CEOs, and may even have a suppressing effect on high-tech start-ups in Canada.

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