Paul Wells in Conversation: Thomas Mulcair

The NDP leader on how he plans to convince Canadians the NDP is ready to govern

TORONTO, ON, September 1st, 2014 - NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

Photograph by Andrew Tolson

On Labour Day afternoon in a near-empty Rogers Building in Toronto, I interviewed Thomas Mulcair.

I’ve known the New Democratic Party leader for more than 20 years, never well. He was first elected to Quebec’s National Assembly in 1994. In Quebec City he was a scrapper, fond of sharing his elaborate theories of power and influence with reporters. In Ottawa he seemed, at first, a fish out of water, only the second New Democrat ever elected from Quebec. Then he became Jack Layton’s lieutenant in the astonishing 2011 breakthrough in Quebec, where the NDP elected 59 MPs.

Succeeding Layton, he shone briefly in the polls but has now spent more than a year watching Justin Trudeau’s Liberals win the public-opinion popularity contests. With barely a year before the 2015 election, Mulcair will have to fight his way back into the spotlight. He told Maclean’s that everything he does when the Commons returns, later this month, will seek to position the NDP for 2015. He’ll introduce new NDP policies for child care, for a national minimum wage, and other policies designed to suggest the NDP are ready to govern.

Here’s a preview of our conversation:

Related links:

Paul Wells in conversation with Justin Trudeau

Paul Wells in conversation with Christy Clark

Paul Wells in conversation with Greg Selinger 

Paul Wells in conversation with Brad Wall 

Paul Wells in conversation with Kathleen Wynne


Paul Wells in Conversation: Thomas Mulcair

  1. Can’t help taking another dig at Trudeau, calling his leadership a popularity contest. Tom doesn’t have what it takes to be leader. I’m predicting Tom is going to have problems within the rank-in-file of his party if his numbers don’t improve soon. Theirs a chance his Quebec vote could collapse, if he doesn’t pick up his(Mulcair) numbers across the country. Quebec wants to see Harper gone in 2015 and if the Grits numbers stay in play the way they are, than it could be better for Quebec to vote for the Grits in order to get rid of Harper and the conservatives, unless Quebec still wants the cons in power for another 4 years(just think about it Quebec, Harper, another four years). Quebecers are known to make bold decisions come voting time.

  2. I can’t help but have some sympathy for TM and the ndp. Take the issue of CITs for instance. What sort of person doesn’t think that corps and the well to do ought to be paying their fair share of tax. But then you have to test this if you also happen to believe that evidence and empiricism matter. Up to now the evidence doesn’t support his contention that our rates are far lower than our neighbours to the south. Sure they are on paper, but they have a system that permits far more right offs and room to not end up paying that 35% [?]rate. It’s a recurring problem with the ndp. Hearts in the right place, but their platform is riddled with similarly attractive looking progressive canards. Don’t handicap our competitiveness, use other available forums and tools to address income inequality. Same deal with a carbon tax – yes we need a price on carbon. But just what do the dippers think will be the knock on effect of introducing such a tax along with a big shift upward in CITs? I’m surprised someone as smart as Mulcair is brazenly peddling this stuff. Even if he gets in he’ll be back peddling on half of it before the Parliamentary session is out.

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