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Thomas Mulcair, the man no one hears

The NDP leader has hit a stride in question period, but voters don’t seem to be listening


 

Andrew Tolson

Depending on how you look at him, Thomas Mulcair enters 2014 deserving to feel like either the most satisfied man in Canadian politics, or the most frustrated. The federal NDP leader was able to capitalize on the Senate spending scandal in 2013 to establish himself as Stephen Harper’s most dangerous assailant in the House. But his probing question period style on that issue has failed to boost his party’s standing in the polls—while the federal Liberals, despite what most observers agree has been Justin Trudeau’s weaker QP performance, have widened their lead.

No wonder Mulcair isn’t only taking aim these days at Harper’s Conservatives. In a recent interview with Maclean’s, he spoke not so much about ousting the Tories as ending the old Canadian habit of switching back and forth between Conservative and Liberal governments. He drew an explicit link between past Liberal scandals and the Senate spending affair now plaguing Harper. Most Canadians no doubt missed the news that Jacques Corriveau, an 80-year-old former Liberal organizer, was finally charged last month with fraud in relation to the so-called sponsorship scandal, which so badly damaged the Liberal brand a long decade ago. Not Mulcair. He pointedly raised the Corriveau case as a reminder of what laid the Liberals low, and lifted Harper into power, back in 2006.

“This is how we do things in Canada,” Mulcair said. “When you get tired of the Liberals, you throw them out and bring in the Conservatives. When you get tired of the Conservatives, you throw them out and bring in the Liberals. I honestly believe Canadians deserve better than being told they have no choice but to alternate between Liberal corruption and Conservative corruption.”

But persuading Canadians to vote NDP as the way to break that familiar two-party oscillation has proven enormously difficult for Mulcair, just as it did for all his predecessors. Jack Layton’s 2011 breakthrough, carrying the NDP over the Liberals into second place, seemed to many New Democrats like a decisive step toward power. Since Layton’s death from cancer, however, the troubling question for them has been how much the 2011 result was his personal triumph rather than their party’s coming-of-age.

In the interview, Mulcair suggested several key ways he hopes to reassert the NDP’s claim to being a genuine alternative in 2014. He repeatedly drew on his background as a former provincial environment minister in Jean Charest’s Liberal government in Quebec. He clearly hopes his experience in government sets him apart from Trudeau, who was a schoolteacher before he became an MP. As well, Mulcair pitches his NDP as a well-managed party with sensible, progressive aims—not, as some still see it, a movement more suited to protest than power. “Look at the unity and discipline in our caucus,” he urged. “Look at the discipline in our message.”

That message will likely have two main elements in the coming months: continued hard-hitting questions on the Senate spending scandal and a bid by Mulcair to recast the NDP’s image on economic issues. On the Senate, he shows no sign of letting up. His aim is obvious: bringing as much of the blame as possible down upon Harper’s own head. The core questions swirl around how much the Prime Minister knew about plans spearheaded by his former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, and other Tory insiders, to secretly pay back expenses dubiously claimed by Sen. Mike Duffy. It’s a complicated affair, but Mulcair insisted voters are not yet tiring of it. “As I travel across the country, Canadians have been coming up to me in all sorts of situations and saying, ‘Keep going. You’re asking the questions we’d like to ask. Keep holding their feet to the fire,’ ” he said.

Yet, if Canadians are so enthusiastic about Mulcair’s prosecutorial zeal on Senate spending, why don’t the polls show him reaping the benefits? Last September, Harris-Decima pegged NDP support at 24 per cent, the Conservatives at 29 per cent and the Liberals at 33 per cent. After a fall dominated by more Senate-spending revelations, and with Mulcair unrelenting on the matter, the polling firm last month found the NDP stagnant at 23 per cent, Conservatives slipping at 26 per cent, and the Liberal ascendant at 36 per cent. Harris-Decima chairman Allan Gregg says Mulcair’s best hope is that his intensity on the issue will allow him to bank valuable credibility with reporters and pundits. “Those performances have an indirect effect on public opinion through the filter of the media,” Gregg says. “The media looks at QP every day and thinks, ‘This guy is really, really competent.’ And that, in turn, changes how they cover him.”

Beyond the Senate story, Mulcair was talking up economic files—oil pipelines, pensions and taxes among them. Conservative strategists argue that, when the fixed date for the next election rolls around in the fall of 2015, Harper’s economic record will count for more than his handling of the spending foibles of a few senators. Mulcair’s challenge is to sell himself as moderate enough to ease the concerns of centrist voters, but still progressive enough to keep the NDP’s base energized. A key test will be the Canada-European trade agreement, slated to be finalized sometime in 2014. Mulcair is cautiously holding back on taking a position for or against the deal until the full text is finally released. Supporting it would risk alienating core NDP supporters, including many union leaders. But opposing it would tend to confirm doubts among uncommitted voters about the NDP’s understanding of what drives economic growth.

He is more decisive on the controversial question of oil pipeline projects—a core element in Harper’s vision for Canada as an “energy superpower.” He opposes the Northern Gateway proposal for a pipeline linking Alberta’s oil sands to a new Pacific port, calling the prospect of supertankers plying B.C.’s rugged Douglas Channel a “non-starter.” On Keystone XL, Mulcair argues against the proposed pipeline to siphon Canadian crude to refineries in the southern U.S., in favour of instead upgrading that oil in Canada. Tellingly, he singles out Trudeau’s support for Keystone—more than Harper’s—for missing the chance to create jobs in Canada. The pipeline proposal Mulcair does support is the so-called West-East project, which would see more Alberta oil refined in Quebec and New Brunswick.

Energy politics matter a lot in Harper’s Ottawa, but tax issues likely resonate with more voters. Conservatives are eager to portray Mulcair as a dangerous tax-hiker. That’s how the government portrays the NDP’s policy in favour of expanding the Canada Pension Plan—both the paycheque deductions that fund CPP and the benefits paid to retired Canadians. It’s a concept backed by most premiers, some financial experts and the Canadian Labour Congress. But, in a year-end interview with Global News, Harper dismissed any proposal to “raise CPP taxes” to solve the retirement-income woes of Canadians who have “affluent lifestyles but just don’t save.” Mulcair cited studies showing that millions of Canadians face a serious decline in their standard of living in retirement unless something is done. “Once again, we see the Conservatives taking a very bleak, short-term view—we can’t afford this, we can’t do that,” he said. “Frankly, it’s shameful, it’s shocking.”

While Mulcair’s CPP position finds support that crosses party lines, his enthusiasm for a federal corporate tax hike is more clearly a left-wing policy preference. The average combined federal-provincial corporate tax rate is now about 26 per cent, well below the comparable U.S. rate of about 40 per cent. The Conservatives accuse Mulcair of plotting to eliminate the entire difference, warning that an NDP government would impose a “50 per cent tax hike on job creators.” Mulcair denied that, saying the NDP would narrow the gap, but still leave the Canadian rate lower, although he wouldn’t say by how much. “The combined rate in Canada can be brought closer to the American rate without any ill effects to business or to the economy in Canada,” he said. “The only people not paying their fair share are corporations. They’ve been given a massive tax cut under the Conservatives.”

That’s a message bound to sell well with the committed NDP base. But pollster Gregg questions how well it will resonate with other Canadians, who tend to accept the idea that companies create jobs and shouldn’t be overburdened. “The context has shifted over the last 15 years,” he says. “There’s an orthodoxy today around tent-pole Conservative positions. Small government is better than big government. Trade is better than protectionism. The private sector is better than the public sector at creating jobs.” That leaves the NDP and Liberals facing the same task, Gregg concludes, of “defining a new progressivism that acknowledges those orthodoxies but establishes itself as different.”

But the Liberals’ reconnection with voters has come thanks to Trudeau’s personal appeal, not any fresh policy he’s staked out. David McGrane, a University of Saskatchewan professor of political studies, who is working on a book about the NDP, says only in Quebec does Mulcair’s solid background in provincial politics translate into a clear edge over Trudeau in the polls. In the rest of the country, Mulcair’s image as competent seems to be trumped by Trudeau’s as likeable. “If you had to choose between competency and likeability, choose likeability,” McGrane says. “That’s what gets you places. Layton broke through because people liked and trusted him, not because they viewed him as extremely competent.”

Still, Mulcair is too formidable a politician to be counted out, with all of 2014 and most of 2015 stretching out before the next election. McGrane points to Liberal Premier Christy Clark’s upset win in last year’s B.C. provincial election, and Conservative Premier Alison Redford’s come-from-behind victory in Alberta the year before, as reminders of voter volatility and the decisive importance of election strategy. “The NDP can be heartened, in the sense that things can swing quickly,” he says. Gregg agrees, noting that more voters than ever feel no loyalty to any party and remain wide open to campaign-trail persuasion. In previous eras, going into an election several points behind other parties in the polls was usually insurmountable. “Today,” Gregg says, “that means nothing, nothing.”

To give the NDP a chance of reaping the benefits of voter volatility, though, Mulcair needs to stay competitive. In 2013, he looked as if he found a way, on the Senate file at least, to battle Harper. Trudeau is another matter. Mulcair’s assessment of the Liberals combines partisan loathing and professional respect. “Liberals are willing to say anything to get elected and then, once they’re in office, do just the opposite. That’s their history,” he said, adding, “I’ll give them credit for one thing: They are extremely able at decoding what they think people want to hear.” And with that phrase, Mulcair might have, no doubt unintentionally, touched on his own challenge. Last year, he found his voice in question period. This year, he needs to find a message Canadians will hear beyond the House.


 
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Thomas Mulcair, the man no one hears

  1. “A key test will be the Canada-European trade agreement, slated to be
    finalized sometime in 2014. Mulcair is cautiously holding back on taking
    a position for or against the deal until the full text is finally
    released. Supporting it would risk alienating core NDP supporters,
    including many union leaders. But opposing it would tend to confirm
    doubts among uncommitted voters about the NDP’s understanding of what
    drives economic growth.”

    Mulcair’s got a bit of a nerve throwing some of that crap at a party he once belonged to.

    Perhaps that is the crux of Mulcair’s dilemma.Maybe It isn’t even that he’s the problem so much? [certainly not his competency. Although his judgement on some issues could be considered suspect among Canadians] It’s quite frankly the party he’s dragging around; it doesn’t work nationally. It’s always pulling somewhere and pushing somewhere else at the same time. Many Canadians may not be able to reconcile the inconsistencies in the party – i certainly can’t. Shoddy as the liberals can be at times, they aren’t torn at the very core of the party in this way, even among their QC caucus. Most Canadians that can remember that far back have a pretty good idea where they stand on national unity; not so much the ndp.

    I’m baffled as to how Jack pulled it off. But being the most likeable man standing is a good an answer as any other.

    • all though I agree with a lot of what you said, their are other reasons tom is not going to get it. tom is like a comedian gone bad, when a comedian tries to funny, they end up with egg on their faces, they flounder, and say things that either insult people or their just not communicating properly anymore. So when tom comes before a camera, his smile is not genuine, he always tries to talk about policy, but only nibbles around the edges, and not giving his MPs any latitude(and I don’t even know any of the policy makers on his team), and finally, by tom being out in front of a camera everyday and claiming the HOC is on fire, debases the leaders job, people don’t take him seriously(that’s what MPs are for, ringing alarm bells in the HOC). Leaders have to stop trying to be what their not, and be who they really are. Harper is scripted and will never change, Mulcair is a nervous nelly(every time the media interviews him, its like he is ready to take a strip off them, he just has that angry lawyer type look). Jim Cowan(smooth approach)(not angry)in the lib senate is 2wice the lawyer tom Mulcair will ever be. .

      • I also have to agree to disagree with toms rant. people are sick of the senate debacle, but the public are not ready to shuck the senate(wishful thinking by the dippers)in though, taxpayers just want it reformed by someone they can trust. the other difference between harper, Mulcair, and Trudeau is, Harper hides from real taxpayers(uses props on taxpayers dime ), Mulcair just talks to the taxpayer, and Trudeau consults with taxpayers, and always looking for feedback.

        • I think you might be wrong when you say Canadians want the Senate reformed most people I speak to want it abolished as it passed it’s best before date by 100 years

      • Every strategy has its downsides. But Mulcair isn’t really that bad. He’d look good as a Liberal…hell he even thought about becoming a Conservative once upon a time. The ndp are still an ideological party led by a not particularly ideological or charismatic leader – it isn’t working.

        • I agree, Mulcair would make a good minister in the liberal government, im not sure tom has been watching Trudeaus twitter followers lately and the number of RTs that goes out on Trudeaus account. I,d be worried if I was tom. like ive said before, iggy went after harper, and look what happened, Jack took the prize and became opposition. Mulcair is in the same situation as Harper right now, if they don’t start to bring the parties fortunes around or numbers up, they both may end up into a leadership revolt before the next election is called. That’s all Trudeau has to do, is keep his numbers up to where they are now or higher if he can get there for at least the next 6 months and I will bet, you will start to hear grumblings in both the NDP and CON parties. The NDP and the CONS wont want to go into the summer months with these type of numbers in the pols, knowing an election is within a years notice. Harper wont call a snap election right now because he knows with the new seat redistribution, he thinks he will stand a better chance of winning.

          • I’m too old to feel comfortable with just great numbers on twitter or at the polls this far out. So i’m watching to see when JT starts to put a little more in the shop window. He’s certainly done a good job of getting national attention. Now i want to see him do something with it…but that’s just me.

          • It’s the hair, just the hair, and nothing but the hair…..so help me g*d!

          • Er, God isn’t a four letter word you know. Hair is, but i hope you get my point.

      • It also the NDP’s basic philosophy that causes me to shun them, but Mulcair disgusts me. When a politician does what he did in NYC and said the US should kill Keystone, he obviously doesn’t take the Canadian National Interest as a priority. Criticize and attack all you want, but do it inside Canada, not in a foreign country. I get it, he casts for votes and thinks he can grab some “green” votes. But some of us take a dim view of this and question his patriotism, and with his dual citizenship, I heard many comments.
        ,
        Socialism is a questionable ideology these days, look to France, Spain and Greece to confirm it. Last, I do not want to vote for a party whose leader is from Quebec. I find they are too obsessed with Quebec and its politics and ignore the rest of the country.

        • People with real principles speak about them wherever they are. If you familar with his polices you might be aware that he’s essentially a defender of the oil industry, he’s merely pushed for more sustainable development of the resource. Trying to ensure that Alberta doesn’t become a toxic wasteland seems like it’s in Canada’s best interest. Considering how poorly resource extraction is being handled today: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/02/mercury-levels-oilsands_n_4532618.html When did it become patriotic to poison the country?

          • You refer me to huffingpost to reinforce your argument. Not exactly an unbiased source. I am Alberta born, and worked in the oil patch at one time. Alberta is anything but a toxic wasteland, its just in vogue now to attack the oil sands. To me what is poisoned is the economy of Ontario, but people never look close to home when they pontificate. Alberta tries hard to strike a balance, extraction and environmental safety. They aren’t perfect. Instead of all the criticisms, get on board for Canada and the benefits to us all. That is patriosim

          • if alberta isn’t a wasteland why? do all those albertans by there recreational property out of province?

    • “Mulcair’s got a bit of a nerve throwing some of that crap at a party he once belonged to.”

      Except Tom Mulcair never belonged to the federal Liberal Party. He was a member of the Liberal Party of Quebec – a provincial-only party with no formal ties to the federal Liberals. In the federalist/nationalist axis of Quebec politics, the provincial Liberals were the only option for a federalist like Mulcair – and that does not imply any connection to the federal Liberals.

      Mulcair first joined the federal NDP in 1974 – and never belonged to the federal Liberal Party.

      • Technically you’re perfectly right of course. But I find it hard to believe there are no ties to the federal libs, in much the same way as there are in ON, and to a lesser extent with BC.
        And Mulcair did shop himself around, rumour has to the CPC and possibly the LPC. There’s also the matter of his admiration for Pet. So I find it difficult to believe he wasn’t an opportunist of sorts, certainly not a life long dipper.
        Edit: it is news to me though that Mulcair joined the NDP as long as 40 yrs ago now.

        • You can find it hard to believe all you want, but it seems to be the case. Traditionally (well, at least since the rise of the PQ), Quebec politics has not had a left-right axis nearly as much as the rest of Canada. Rather, the split has been sovereigntist-federalist. If you weren’t a separatist, you were a Liberal. Otherwise, you’d risk splitting the federalist vote and letting the Pequistes pull another referendum. That’s how it was. So basically, you’re blaming Mulcair for supporting Canada.

          • No, but i don’t have to like the way he’s going about it do i? 50+1% is a non starter for me as a federal Liberal, and i find the Sherbrook declaration amounts to pretty much running up the white flag for Canada. So, we do have something left to fight about as fellow federalists don’t we?

          • Well, fair enough. Although to my mind, it’s becoming a non-issue. When the PQ rose, francophone Quebeckers wanted to become “Maitres chez nous”–the place really was run by anglos and the francophones felt like second class citizens in their own province. The grievances were quite real. And it seemed like maybe the way to address that was to separate. So the pro-separation sentiments were strong.

            Well, they won. They are maitres chez them now. The substance has changed decisively. So nobody cares much about separation any more, even if they’re vaguely in favour–except if you piss them off by tweaking their pride. There was a point once to being very extra careful about the formulas and fighting to the last ditch about wording even if it offended people. There isn’t any more, because the only thing that might prompt Quebec to think about separation now is the perception that we think we can boss them around, like by telling them what kind of vote they’re allowed to hold. Even that isn’t very likely to do it.
            The Conservatives might theoretically create new real grievances by interfering with the Quebec tendency to maintain and create various welfare state type programs at the provincial level. Certain trade agreements, for instance, seem to outlaw certain kinds of public action. But short of that I just don’t see a serious push for separation happening any more.

          • I’m just an anglo Canadian, very little French[ next to zero really] and i haven’t set foot there in more than 30 years.
            I’d like to believe all this stuff is withering away – but yet our politician continue to dance long after the music appears to have stopped. Maye it’s them we need to separate from really. :)

    • You point out that Mulcair used to be a Quebec Liberal as some sort of inconsistency, but the Quebec Liberals are quite different than the Federal Liberals, sort of falling between the Federal NDP and Liberals. I would also remind you the Bob Rae and Ujjal_Dosanjh used to be Provincial NDP Premiers but switched to the Liberals Federally.

      • Fair enough.

      • Well, the one thing the Quebec Liberals share with the Federal Liberals…..is the propensity to pilfer from the public purse every time they get into power.
        That is simply a fact which cannot be denied. It’s unfortuante, but it’s true.
        La Familia, Liberal…..as Peter MacKay correctly pointed out. (Charbonneu Inquiry is quite telling)

        • The conservatives seem to have a similar propensity. That seems to be a trait of parties that get power and believe they are entitled. Lookatwhatis currentlygoingon , what happened in the mulroneyyears, underGrant Devine and Bill Vander Valm. To say it is a Liberal trait is to tell only part of the story.
          It is worth noting that Mulcair was offered a bribe, but turned it down. Perhaps he should have reported the offer, but that is a minor issue as he did not take it. That stands out for me as someone who is basically honest, rare in politics these days.

          • I should have clarified…..
            “Harper Conservatives”
            I couldn’t stand Mulroney…for the same reasons.
            The Conservatives under harper are a different breed. They aren’t steeped in Quebec corruption….er, “culture” as were the Mulroney conservatives, or the Liberals.

          • “Look at what is going on” … what, the fact that the PMO put pressure on Senators with questionable expenses to pay them back? How on earth is that a problem, exactly?

    • “Mulcair’s got a bit of a nerve throwing some of that crap at a party he once belonged to”

      Nonsense. That’s what party politics is all about. He took a chance to become a major player in a Federal party (and leader with Layton’s sudden death) over being a flunky whose ideas were not respected in a Quebec party.

      David Emerson and Belinda Stronach had no problems with it – but Mulcair was not elected under as a representative of one Federal party, only to frustrate his constituents by crossing the floor on inducement from another.

      • I don’t have any problem with people changing parties in general. But you’re right, i worded that poorly. What i was trying to get at is Mulcair is basically a small l liberal.
        I would however point out there is some dispute as to why he left Charest’s govt. There are those who say it has to do more with just not getting his way over a park. I guess that’s allowed in politics.

        • Yes, I’ve heard that said. The guy is known to have an ego. What successful party leader these days does not?

          • Absolutely. But he isn’t successful… yet anyway. :)

        • I’d grant that Mulcair is basically a small l liberal. I personally could wish he were further to the left.
          On the other hand, the modern Liberals are basically small c conservatives. Mulcair would probably be somewhat out of place in that party. They’d let him play for a while, then knife him in the back, like they did with Dion.
          Coda: If the modern NDP are small l liberals, while the modern Liberals are small c conservatives, the modern Conservatives are small f fascists. Everyone’s kind of moved a few steps to the right since the days of Trudeau Pere, Joe Clark and Honest Ed.

          • Actually,
            Today’s Conservative Party actually adheres to a Classical Liberal ideology. The NDP are still socialists when it comes to economics; with a good dose of anti-semitism thrown in with many NDP’ers……thankfully, Mulcair has been trying to keep it in check.
            The Liberals……no real ideology other than getting into power. You could say, that of all the parties today, only the Liberals haven’t changed their mandate.

          • “Classical Liberal” is an interesting but largely irrelevant category. It’s both a disputed (in that nobody agrees on what it means) and politically obsolete term.
            As to the NDP being socialists–no. Socialists think private owners should not control the means of production, with those instead being under the control of the workers themselves or the state. The NDP believe in markets somewhat more than the Liberals of the Trudeau era did, and in market intervention somewhat less than the Liberals of the Trudeau era did. Pierre Trudeau, lest we forget, took steps towards nationalizing Canada’s oil sector (and we’d all be better off if Mulroney hadn’t undone that, or if Alberta had gone public on their own account–consider all the countries with nationally owned oil companies and how much more they’re getting from that oil than we are, from Norway on down). The NDP don’t have the guts to even contemplate public ownership of the oil patch, they barely propose higher royalties.
            The Liberals meanwhile have considerably more faith in the “magic of the market” than the old Progressive Conservatives ever did. The bankrupt efficient market hypothesis has been successfully hyped for so long by such well funded think tanks that no politician dares to seriously dispute it. The “small c” conservatism I refer to is in modern terms, in the sense that they have accepted free-market, free-trade, small-government nostrums . . . which have no real economic basis.

          • If it is a policially obsolete term….please don’t tell the Prof that taught my Poli sci course a few years ago.
            As for your definition of socialists…sorry. They don’t think private owners should control the means of production…..as they don’t believe in private ownership in the first place.
            As for the private market theory….sorry. It’s a reality; though the NDP’er hate this ideology. The capitalist system has proven itself the most efficient over all other systems…..it’s not perfect, but it’s far better than any other devised to date.
            Simply because it may not work for you….is no reason to stop others’ from benefitting.
            As for the oil patch….if you really want to see a province seperate from Canada……just try and take it away from those who live there.

          • It’s obsolete in political practice. It’s philosophically interesting, but it’s not a term used in normal discourse about the ideologies of contemporary political parties. It just isn’t. Yes, it remains the underpinning of many political ideas. No, it doesn’t have much to do with current politics in any very direct way.
            As to the efficient market theory, that is precisely the theory that says markets are perfect–that they produce Pareto-optimal outcomes (for what that’s worth) and clear. So in saying “it’s not perfect” you just rejected that theory. Once you’ve rejected it, you can investigate the degree to which it is false, and we can disagree about just how off it is, and whether for instance public investment in public goods can give a better return on investment than private failure to do so, or just how serious the tendency is for laissez faire to create considerable unemployment, and how strongly that needs corrective public action to fix it, or whatnot. But neither of us is coming from the official line, which is that markets are inherently perfect.

            On the oil patch, I’d be fine with Albertans “provincializing” it. As things stand, they’re just giving away the oil rents. I don’t have to take it away from them, they’re setting royalties and taxes so low it’s already been taken away.

          • You may consider the term obsolete, but the practice is still quite alive and well. Today, in Canada, the practice is the ideology of the Conservative Party. Granted, it is strange, to have the only REAL folks who have Liberal values, calling themselves Conservative….but hey, that’s where we are.

            I do belive I mentioned that the capitalist system is NOT perfect; as frankly, unless you are an NDP’er…..you realize that nothing is perfect.

            You can go off on your “theoretical” descriptions of capitalism….but I’ll stick with the reality of what we see in Capitalist countries. They are the most wealthy, the most free, and the most advanced nations on earth. There is a reason for that. Capitalism.

            We deal with the imperfections of capitalism with social programs for those who cannot compete, or those who for whatever reason cannot share in the benefits of a market society directly. That’s why we have welfare, EI, CPP..etc..etc….

            Some people will NEVER be successful. That’s a reality; but we care for them anyway, as we are a compassionate society.

            If in doubt…….please tell me what system you would prefer. I’m sure whatever system you believe in…has already been tried, or is currently in action. How are those countries faring?

            We don’t need perfect….we just need the best that is available.

          • As i said, i don’t think the ndp have made a convincing case for having moved over to small liberal territory.[ even if the leadership may have] Nor do i accept there’s much of a difference between small c cons and small l liberals. What difference there is the LPC is comfortably able to straddle. You’re perfectly within your right to not like that, but it’s simply where the modern LPC has always felt most comfortable. I think the worst you could say of them historically is that the party leadership has always been a little right of the membership. But you could make that argument of all parties.[ perhaps it is better to say more pragmatic? The tory leadership is hardly right of its members]
            You may be correct that we have shifted rightwards. I’d personally like to see the liberals move back into Pierre’s sphere. But things change. The LPC is not going to ever become a statist party again, and if you’re hoping the ndp can fill that niche from the govt’s side of the House, i’m afraid you may be in for more disappointment.
            Now, if we had a true PR system we might see everything change. How can anyone truly tell what Canadians really want in a govt under this ridiculous FPTP system?

          • Yes…because First past the post has been such a dismal failure for Canada since its inception.
            I hate being wealthy and free…..sheesh.

          • If only you hated being as stupid as you are.

          • Being stupid is not always an indication that you will not be wealthy and free……
            Just ask Justin Trudeau…he’s doing rather well too.

    • removed

      • Hah! Saved me the trouble of pointing out my mea culpa…well it might have saved me the trouble…:)

        • I reacted too soon, then saw that others had already posted similarly so didn’t want to pile on. Happy New Year!

          • You too.

  2. “The average combined federal-provincial corporate tax rate is now about
    26 per cent, well below the comparable U.S. rate of about 40 per cent”

    You might want to consult SG on that one JG. Mr G made a convincing case for the actual divergence in the rates to be considerably smaller then this spread once a true comparison is made. I believe it is linked to the considerable extra number of loopholes that are available to US corps to avoid paying that 40% figure.

    • Odd how that fact gets no response from dippers, nothing but thumbs down; because fact it is.

  3. I may not agree with Mulcair but he has my respect . He is doing a great job as opposition leader holding Harpers feet to the fire , Trudeau on the other hand is just plain useless in the house and seems most effective when his mouth is shut . The CBC interview with Evan Solomon removes all doubt about Trudeau , it’s no wonder they wiped it from their site.

    • Mulcair may be a good prosecutor but that does not mean he is capable of running the country. We have a PM who is not very likeable. I doubt whether Canadians are interested in trading Harper for an Angry Tom and putting him in the big chair. That’s why Trudeau is doing so well. He says nothing, but that pretty face and hair. Well he is the cat’s meow I guess to a lot of people. An empty vessel that anyone can place their hopes and aspirations in.

      • You certainly can’t seem to stop talking about his “pretty face and hair.” I guess if enough people like you vote with their libidos, Trudeau will win.

        • I guess you don’t want people to talk about it because it makes him look superficial and silly.

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          • This comment was deleted.

          • LOL you’re the one making them.

          • Actually it makes YOU look superficial and silly…carry on.

          • Lover of all things Liberal. Carry on!

          • Lover of over the top, the over generalized and the unimaginative…as you were!

          • I cannot believe you would seriously consider JT as qualified to lead anything. He has a famous name and if he did not have that name he would never have been picked as leader. The liberals are nostalgic for the past. Tell me what serious thing has he said about any of the issues facing the country. Oh yes he is great with the spin, bromides etc. However, he doesn’t show up in QP and when he does he really is ineffective. So instead of criticizing me why don’t you tell us why you believe the man child is capable of running the country.

          • I don’t expect you to get it. From a liberal perspective he’s doing a good job of reconnecting with Canadians, something the party has neglected for too long.
            You’ll have to wait for policy like everyone else.

          • So you just proved hollinm’s point: if JT has had nothing of value to say, why then IS he ahead in the polls? It must be the hair and last name then, right!

          • Happy new year Francien. Yes of course i said he has nothing of value to say. I imagine all he does at each stop is compare curls with the girls.
            Can i suggest you avoid circular arguments and or putting words into other people’s mouths.

          • I have no love for the Liberals or any political party but it could be that people see someone more approachable than Harper. He’s not afraid to do interviews even at the risk of being nailed to the cross by the illegitimate Harper party followers every time. Harper is so surrounded by people doing his job for him he may as well be on welfare because we’re paying him for nothing or things he should be in jail for.

          • Ah, of course you belive that and the freak circle begins

          • Replace nostalgic with desperate. They did not really go back to the drawing board and try to build policy from the grassroots up. Instead they looked for a water walker to lead them back to the promised land, the easy way out. Which leads me to believe they still haven’t got it. They do not deserve to be elected in 2015

      • You mean trading corrupt Stevie for angry Tom. I would take ” angry Tom” every time. Harper is not competent to even run his own office let alone the country. He is a one trick pony who cheated his way into office.
        The angry label on Mulcair is just another label the Conservatives put on a person they will have to meet in an election to try and define him negatively. Having said that,I am angry as well at all the crap Harper has pulled, especially regarding dismantling scientific research and destroying the libraries we have built up over the years. Kind of reminds be of the Nazis burning books and arresting opposition in the lead up to WW2

        • Thank you. I was wondering when someone would say it. Harper is dangerous. When you muffle scientists and change laws that used to protect our air and water, not to mention the species who live there, there’s something seriously wrong. Our democracy is threatened under this govt. I don’t trust Harper or the senate…his buddies. He’s got to go.

          • Harper isn’t “muffling” scientists….he’s getting rid of the useless shills with an activist agenda on the climate. That’s just common sense.
            As for the laws changed to protect the water and the envirnoment, I would simply say they are getting rid of the ineffective laws that cause stasis in the develpment of resources without any real benefit.
            Just because you disagree…doesn’t make the policy wrong.
            Environmentalists complain because they want to see ALL development stopped. End of story.
            They have “theirs”….so they don’t care if others’ have to do without.

            AFter all….it’s not like any first nations folks actually WANT to work is it?

          • so true

        • appaulled…..
          Please enlighten us with the names of any Conservative under Harper who has stolen millions of dollars from the taxpayers?
          Also, given what you know of Harper….do you think he would personnally use his position to enrich himself? Even the folks on the CBC have admited that Harper isn’t the type to do that. In fact, they have already admitted that Harper “wouldn’t be capable of lying” about such issues.

      • Given his “handlers” and guidance counsellors (Gerald Butts) how long do you think it would take Trudeau to royally screw up the rest of Canada, by doing what the Provincial LIberals did to Ontario.
        Remember, Gerald Butts…..is the brain behind the Green Energy act when he was with McGinty. I bet Gerry would just love to shove windmills down everyone’s throat……and imagine what he would do to the one Province that actually provides a lot of revenue to Canada; Alberta.
        Justin doesn’t like “Albertans” remember? He said it himself…do you really think he gives two figs about the economy of that province given the Liberal wasteland when it comes to elections?

  4. I doubt Canadians are looking for a resident chief prosecutor to lead the next government of Canada. Mulcair in his efforts to tarnish Harper is wasting time on the Senate scandal. He needs to take advantage of every opportunity to Question Period show he is capable of running a government with moderate policies. To date he is all over the map when it comes to pipelines. How is moving oil from the west to the east via pipeline any safer? How is using rail cars to move oil any safer? He is a one trick pony. Canadians are not going to vote against their own self interest and elect someone who is going to raise taxes directly or indirectly through a carbon tax or cap and trade system. Canadians are not going to vote for a party that believes in confiscation of the wealth of some to support the less productive elements of society as a way to increase middle class prosperity. This thing about him being an environment minister in Quebec is not going to win him any brownie points. He quit in a snit. Angry Tom? I think so. He is a socialist who believes that government is the answer to everything.

    • Speaking for all Canadians is really your forte, isn’t it? You and rfaris should form a team. Just take turns hitting every stale tp out there.

      • This comment was deleted.

        • I’m not a leftie and you know it. Nice try but i think i’m best suited to define my position on the political curve. I know you like to speak for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you know what you’re talking about…Rightie…

          • You could fool me.

          • Um, er…that’s not that difficult actually.

        • Coming from you there’s a world of irony in that statement.

    • “How is moving oil from the west to the east via pipeline any safer?”

      An eastern pipeline doesn’t have to pass through the mountains of BC where it is subject to extremely rugged terrain, earthquakes and landslides, and where much it it will be very difficult to access in the event of a spill. The oil transported east will then presumably be refined there, rather than loaded onto tankers where it is again at risk of spilling.

      • Now you’ve done it. He probably thinks that QC will put a toll on the bloody thing or use the revenue to open more day cares, or something equally sinful.

        • That’s almost a certainty. Ask NL how willing QC is to let them transport electricity across their borders without surrendring every cent of profit to them (a policy that is likely a breach of NAFTA, though Harper was strangely unwilling to take a side on that). It’s why they are routing the Muskrat Falls power back to the island and across the Strait to NS.

          Unless all the oil is refined in QC, that is. It will only be an issue if the oil gets refined east of QC.

          • Hadn’t thought of that. What’s the betting Harper stands up for AB since he’s nothing to lose in QC. If so i hope you guys in NL make him pay for it.

          • NL wasn’t allowed to build a refinery to refine its offshore oil either, because QC refineries (and Irving) didn’t want the competition. And since offshore resources are, strictly speaking, federal, NL had to concede to having the oil refined elsewhere before the feds would allow development.

            (The Come By Chance oil refinery refines imported oil [predates offshore development & couldn’t process the offshore stuff even if allowed] but has to ship the finished product out of the country for the same anti-competitive reason – though an exception was made for NL sales).

          • That’s pretty amazing really. I spent a lot of time living on the wet coast and can’t imagine the reaction had someone in Ottawa told BC what it could or could not do with its resources. You might have noticed BC aint even that keen on AB sticking its nose in let alone any one else.
            Any chance ABH will come round again in NL?

          • Well, as I’ve been living in ON for 22 years I can’t claim to have my finger on the pulse of NL voters – but if my FB connections are any indication I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet NL will be CPC-free in 2015.

          • let’s hope so.

          • Its funny but all that BC natural gas going to market? 90% crosses Alberta to get there .

          • It’s hilarious that none of it has the potential to pollute AB’s coast and ruin a long standing way of life for those who still live off, or make a living off, the ocean.

      • Wow. Lenny….you actually wrote something I agreed with.
        My only concern about the pipeline to the West Coast was the Earthquake potential. I lived there for years, and I was always worried about “The Big One” as it is long overdue.

    • It’s never been clear that the Harper party has ever really won a fair election in this country but aside from that anyone voting for that party has been voting against their own best interests if you were to look at their policies on the environment alone.

      • The Liberals use to get elected on similar numbers, it isn’t just one party.

      • That’s the problem for the enviro-weenies….
        Most people don’t vote based on a single issue of the environment. that’s what the GREEN Party is for.
        Most people just want to go to work, pay their FAIR share of taxes, and be left alone to enjoy their lives.
        The NDP want to control what you do, take your money, and tell you what to think.
        The Liberals just want to steal from you.
        what choices do we have?

    • Well said. He’s like the boy who cried ‘wolf’ one too many times, who, as you said, never offers anything substantive; ie resolution to the challenges that face Canada that would be desirable or acceptable to all Canadians.

  5. Tom Mulcair – in my lifetime – is performing as the best Official Opposition leader since John Diefenbaker. His ability to skewer Harper in the Question Period is matched by his impressive ability to discuss a wide range of issues and policies in interviews or meetings such as I attended recently out here in Victoria.
    His smiling , often laughing, demeanor in the Question Period when Harper once again contradicts himself or continues his cover-up is priceless – and contracts the “angry ” Tom theme of the Liberal and Conservative operatives – and their corporate media allies.
    Harper is not a happy camper when Tom grills him like a barbecued chicken – nor is Trudeau – whose weak Question Period performance has been noted by respected right wing pundits such as Robert Fife and Andrew Coyne.
    If Trudeau continues his verbal gaffes e.g. admiration for a Chinese administration that imprisons dissidents, or his echoing of Harper’s oil corporation support for the exportation of raw bitumen and good, valued-added jobs via the Keystone XL pipeline. Trudeau’s policy flip-flops on iconic Liberal policies such as long gun control is not helping either.
    A fairer corporate tax rate and eliminating the disgraceful foreign tax havens that lose from $5-8 billion in tax revenue annually would be policies a so-called Liberal party would support but with Trudeau – and his corporate Liberal party bagman, Stephen Bronfman, at the helm no such sensible policies have been been announced. Indeed, Trudeau keeps a Liberal Senator in his caucus , Merchant, who has tucked away $1.8 million in just such a haven.LOL
    People in 201.will contrast the strengths of Tom Mulcair as opposed to the weakness of a Prime Minister who , as Joe Clark says, “is a stranger to the facts”, and a third party leader on training wheels.
    Little wonder the corporate media is concerned about a threat the 150 year alternation of the two old-line parties – or, as Tommy Douglas described in his famous “Mouseland” parable – the black cats and white cats who took turns ruling the mice who always somehow lost regardless of which cats they elected!
    A Tom Mulcair federal government – with clear, practical, pro-Canadian policies and programs will unite a fractured and unjust society desperately in need of sound economic, environmental and social policies for the 21st Century knowledge-based economy and society!

    • I couldn’t agree more.

    • And Tom will end poverty and racism and pollution and…

      What’s missing from your analysis is well, any analysis. Some of what you say is probably true, some of it partisan[ hit all the right notes about JT. Too young, too inexperienced, too stupid, too many curls, too rich, too Liberal…] and some of it ideological clap trap. Honestly, much of the time you read like a party political broadcast for the righteous and good on the left. IMHO life or politics simply isn’t like that.

    • If only chest thumping and rhetoric won elections…

      QP is theatre. Whether or not someone is comfortable getting up in front of others and asking questions has no bearing on whether they can lead a country.

      But I do love how you have borrowed that whole “everyone is against us” meme from the conservatives. It’s “Us against Them”!

      I am starting to think the liberals are the only adults in the room.

      • Gayle..Gayle .. thank goodness you are back: I feared that when you had dismissed me the second time, i would never again see your selective quotes, pseudo-analysis, and over-the-top generalizations..

        The Liberals are the only adults in the room, waiting for Trudeau to stop playing with his training wheels, me’thinks.

        • “…i would never again see your selective quotes, pseudo-analysis, and over-the-top generalizations”
          ..
          Thank goodness you’re above all that.

    • I agree with rfaris on how well Tenacious Tom is using QP re: senate scandal. I hope he spends more time on science cut backs and oil concerns with equal gusto. 2 books on these subjects really helped me make some decisions about which party line has it right for Canadians…THE WAR ON SCIENCE muzzled scientists and willful blindness in Steven Harper’s Canada by Chris Turner…very current criticism of policy effect. The other book is STUPID TO THE LAST DROP how Alberta is bringing environmental Armageddon to Canada (and doesn’t seem to care) by William Marsden. Marsden had some great insights into environmental effect vs profit now…talk about government not seeing the forest for the trees.

    • you will note…the “corporate media” is decidely leaning towards Trudeau…so no matter WHAT mulcair does…he’s going to have a hard sell.
      that being said, Mulcair could help himself by doing a good job OUTSIDE of QP…which he has not been doing.
      He’s messed up pretty badly when he talked about “Dutch Disease”…..and going down to the USA and telling them not to approve Keystone was another idiotic thing to do.
      A lot of people rely on the energy sector for employment, and the Governemnt relies on the revenue to programs.
      It’s not enough to SOUND like you know what you are talking about….you actually have to KNOW what you are talking about.
      That’s where Harper has it in spades compared to Trudeau and Mulcair.

  6. I m an ABH voter; so wish there d be one sure bet to get rid of these barbarians who destroy libraries, science, the future of our youth, beloved institutions like health care through starvation, drive our military to suicide in record numbers and are the lying greedy antithesis of everything they promised. I gave trudeau the benefit of the doubt but while he s probably wise not to say too much to early, he s also not taking any ethical stands that should be obvious. Is he really free of corporate interests? or do they really control our fate after all? I keep watching Mulcair but I won t vote for a loser- too much at stake. And while he does well in QP, who watches but a few of us old political groupies? I think people voted for harper and for Obama- another dismal failure- for the hope they offered. Neither of them delivered even a bit unless you re a gun afficianado. I believe the answer is simple Mulcair, we need an ethical responsible person who will put our just society back in place and deal with 21century problems with vision and practicality. A few positive sounds bites might do wonders against the tiresome dirty attack ads. 60-70% of Canadians and even more who dont vote do not wnat this travesty of a government but who is clearly and loudly offering us something better? Go watch early Kennedy speeches for how to stir an electorate, and stop playing mind games. People havent changed that much.

    • I agree – but for me the party’s policies are critical to where I place my vote – the NDP policies do not do it for me. And Mulcair is a great opposition leader but it stops there – I would never vote for his policies.

      The Liberals have had, historically for the most part, a fiscally conservative but socially progressive approach to their governance – to me that is the middle where a balanced approach to governing for the benefit of ALL Canadians has served to develop Canada into a respected country that has for the most part punched above its weight – they also seem to be the only party that has been able to balance the books and pay down the debt.

      Given the current mess that we are in I am looking to the Liberals to put us back on to the path of reasonableness.

      • maybe I should have not addressed Mulcair but either or any potential leaders hanging around out there. I think May is fabulous and doing the right thing but she doenst have a strong enough base yet to draw the crowds. IMHO anyway. I m open to someone great to rebuild this country and take it in a better direction. Who oh who can that be?

        • It’s Mulcair of course – but I understand your trepedition at splitting the non-conservative vote. It’s hard for me to swallow the fact that conservatives have ruined this country with only 39% of the votes.

          • Jean Chretien’s popular vote results:

            1993: 41.3%

            1997: 38.5%

            2000: 40.8%

          • I see no responses to this, I guess it is only a problem when the conservatives get a majority with less than 50% of the popular vote

          • Thing is, the liberals, for all they got a little carried away with adscam, did not tamper with the checks and balances on parliament. the courts, the universities, statistics canada, the press. The Conservatives never did before either; I have no quarrel with them, having voted for Stanfield and Clark. But this bunch pf thinly disguised reformers have eliminated destroyed or overttaken the usual safely net and are hell bent on destroying what was a balanced society of compassion and progress. So my plea, and it is interesting how many down arrows I get for NOT being partisan, is for a great leader to reset the balance. We re way past where an ordinary one can do the job.

          • Saying the Liberals got “a little carried away” with ADSCAM, is like saying Jeffrey Dahmer wasn’t a murderous gay psychopath cannibal…….
            He just had an eating disorder.
            As for the “thinly disguised reformers”……
            Don’t forget an important reality. Paul Martin eliminated the deficits in the 1990’s by basicall STEALING the Reform Party’s platform.
            and that platform….in case you were unaware, was the work of a young fellow named Stephen Harper.
            Factoid: You can also thank the Reform Party for the Clarity Act. AGain…..another piece of work by a young REFORMER named……you guessed it, “Stephen J. Harper.

            http://old.ppforum.ca/common/assets/speeches/en/chantal_hebert.pdf

          • the deficits were reduced on the backs of the pension fund holders i.e. they stole billions of surplus dollars out of the fund .does not matter whos idea it was it was still theft.

          • conservatives are responsible for 75% of the total debt canada owes liberals the other 25% the ndp 0% time to give them the chance . we still have the liberal and conservative senate to reign them in if they do anything too disagreeable

          • and it’s hard for me to swallow that so many Canadians still don’t have a clue about economics.
            If they did……they wouldn’t even CONSIDER voting for a socialist party. Everywhere they get power….they make a mess.
            See:
            France
            Spain
            Greece……
            etc..etc…

        • You have just asked the magic question – I wish I knew the answer…the coming election campaign is shaping up to be one of the more interesting in many years I think…

        • Noreaster……what do you admire about Elizabeth May?
          The fact she is a 9 /11 truther?
          The fact she stated the RCMP planted weapons on the protestors in New Brunswick?
          Her stance on Israel?
          Or the fact that she said “Canadians are stupid”
          To be fair, she was still an American when she said the last one.
          Enlighten us oh wise man from the East.

      • Now…..if we could only prevent the Liberal propensity to steal from us once they are in power.

    • You should not consider who will win or not, so much as who will defeat the local Conservative. In Saanich and the Islands that was the Green. In the end, I would prefer a coalition of the NDP and Liberals, led by Mulcair.

    • If Kennedy was alive today…he’d be considered a Republican moderate….not a Democrat.

      And on the Canadian side of the house….Tommy Douglas would be a racist, homophobe; and the bane of today’s NDP’ers.

  7. I don’t know, to insinuate that Canadians are just doing what they’re told to do (in regards to voting LIberal or Conservative) comes across to me as blaming the canadian people for the woefulness of the NDP on election night.

    That’s kind of insulting and shows a true lack of trust and understanding of the Canadian people

    • First of all – traditions are hard to break out of. You probably cling neurotically to a few yourself. Most people do. Secondly, look at the main stream media where most people get their information about politics. Even with a resoundingly large number of opposition MP’s and arguably the strongest leader of the opposition in Canadian history, Justin Trudeau, with a rump of a party in parliament, gets probably 10 times the press coverage – most of it gushingly positive. If it sells papers, it pleases advertisers. The media, being corporate owned and controlled, will never present anything to do with the NDP in a positive light. Why would they? Like all corporations they continue to win while bouncing between the traditional conservative and liberal governments who differ very little once in power. They know that the NDP will start chipping away at their advantage and start providing better results for regular average Canadians. You’ll rarely see a word about how good that is for Canada or society in general. You will constantly see the opposite. Unfortunately, while I don’t think of it as insulting, I am one of those who don’t trust the intellect of Canadian voters. If people voted in their own self interest there would have been several NDP governments by now.

      • I agree. Most Canadians vote on name recognition or on party line based more on bias than knowledge of either their policies or track record. What Harper is very good at is labelling and defining his opposition negatively and he is aided in this by the media. When voters, many of whom do not even go to a debate or meet the candidates go in to vote, they are left only with biased opinions of who the candidates are. There are alternatives to the big three who nobody even consider because of this.

        • Believe it or not….a great many people vote based on who they think will best manage the country.
          I was a long time Liberal as I couldn’t stand Mulroney….and I voted for Chretien’s Liberals twice. After seeing how much worse Chretien was than Mulroney…..I was left in the wilderness and didn’t vote again until Harper was the leader of the new party.
          I’ve seen nothing to date that would change my voting intentions in the next election.
          I can’t vote Green…..because I have a brain.
          I can’t vote NDP…..because I work in the field of economics, finance, and accounting….and understand how the system works.
          I can’t vote Liberal because they have once again picked a leader based upon style; forgoing substance.
          Can’t vote PQ…..because, well….other than the fact I don’t live in Quebec…see points 1 and two above.

  8. No one is listening because everyone is aware the NDP’s current status is a fluke.

  9. John, you are mistaken. We hear Mulcair, we just choose to not listen to him because he preaches the same old tired class warfare socialist mumbo-jumbo that we know does not work. West against East, social justice (whatever the hell that is), climate justice – even dumber than social justice and blah, blah, blah.

    Just another over educated, self important wannbe social crusader that we politely ignore because of the foolishness he preaches to us.

    • I agree with your first paragraph but ‘over educated’? Is there really such a thing?

      • Apparently there is for a large segment of the Harper core vote. Oddly enough they change their tune the moment Harper mentions he’s an economist.

    • Perhaps the headline should read: Thomas Mulcair, the man no one wants to hear.

      • Certainly not the Liberals or Harper party. There is a large segment of people out there that doesn’t belong to either of those parties. There is a very large segment of people that have absolutely no representation in this country because of our dismal electoral system. Many are not listening to anyone and that is a crying shame and testament to the fact that we do not live in a democratic society. If we want that we need to do some really hard work to dismantle and rebuild. Until that happens less and less people are going to be feeling they need this system at all and chaos is going to be the thing that brings change not clinging to inane partisan bullshit.

  10. Perspective: 24% would be the second-best NDP performance in a federal election ever (if Trudeau became PM with 33% support he would have the weakest mandate of any Prime Minister in Canadian history, and despite winning, would have had one of the worst outcomes for any Liberal leader ever). Prior to the 2011 election being called, the NDP was consistently below 20% (and in some polls below 15%).

    We tend to take the last election as our barometer around which to form expectations, but does that make sense? The Orange surge was a response to a historic collapse of the Liberal vote (thanks, in part, to a terrible leader and an awful campaign), and the collapse of the Bloc. Yet the LPC and Bloc are both institutions with some staying power. 2011 is not the “natural equilibrium” of Canadian politics. Parties only die when the interests that back them jump ship or become unimportant (e.g. the Liberal party did become irrelevant in Britain after universal suffrage and the trade union movement enabled Labour and the Tories to become the only viable parties for a time).

    Perhaps the NDP is only as strong as it is today *because* of the strong performance of Mulcair.

    • Good points, except you appear to be way off on the Bloc.According to Hebert they’re in desperate trouble. That makes QC a wild card next time out. It’s also the one area where Trudeau isn’t eating Mulcair’s lunch. That i believe is probably to his credit as much as Jack’s legacy.
      Much will depend on the fall out from the QC charter…where the chips fall, and who gets to pick them up. But the real struggle for Canada’s soul may well come down to Harper vs Trudeau, and what view QC eventually takes of this.
      I agree that a small minority is probably not in Trudeau’s best interest. But he may have no choice but to take it. Hopefully he is going to put a strong team together to compensate for his inexperience.

      • The Bloc is polling at 23.3% (according to threehundredeight’s last update). In 2011 they won 23.4%. Sure, they have some divisions over the charter issue, but they don’t have much to lose and are punching way below their natural base (i.e. sovereigntist core voters plus a few soft nationalists).

        • You might want to take a look at Hebert’s latest, or more recent post on the Bloc.

    • I think you are wrong, but we will see.

  11. In the grand scheme of things, the Senate scandal is a bit of a yawn. It doesn’t get people’s dander up, doesn’t get them to love the guys who keeps harping about it, unfortunately for Mr. Mulcair, who appears to have been beating the same drum beat. As usual votes will decide come election time, usually by taking in a debate and in a pensive moment when they wonder where their future is heading…

    • Yes,
      I think it’s due to the fact that a political staffer PAYING BACK the taxpayers is not as much of a scandal as a Political Party funnelling money into their own coffers.
      Regardless of how Hubie Lacroix of the CBC would like to spin it…..Duffy is not on par with a real scandal such as ADSCAM, whereupon the Libs consistently stole millions of dollars over the course of the program.

  12. If the defeat of the NeoCons was the goal, the Libs must join the NDP.
    Since both parties are playing political circus,it will never happen.
    In my electoral ward, the NDP was elected on the municipal, provincial and federal level. None of them have any influence whatsoever to change anything for the better. It is all talk and fancy newsletters. I am not saying that it is good or bad, but very frustrating.

    • It is nearly impossible to effect change when you are not in government. All the power rests in the premier and PM offices. The power in municipal politics is better distributed to councillors but only a little bit better in larger cities.

    • It has nothing to do with the political circus you mention. I think it has more to do with fiscal conservatives who vote Liberal on a consistent basis.
      I know a great many Liberals who would simply not vote, or would vote Conservative rather than hand the purse strings to anyone in the NDP. They may prefer the Liberal Party….but they aren’t idiots.

  13. The Liberals may be fighting some old demons similar to the new demons the illegitimate Harper government is fighting once the senate audit gets underway. The NDP is not doing a good enough job of looking after the environment with their grand idea of putting a pipeline across the country. Without a healthy environment we don’t have an economy so when are they all going to figure that out? Endless growth is unsustainable and anyone that thinks about that can’t come away feeling honest in an approach that is trying to sell that to us.

    • Yes….because vast tracts of Boreal forest that aren’t cut are REAL job creators. Just as oil, gas, Minerals and diamonds that stay in the ground provide untold revenue to Governments for dispertion to the population.
      Given that depth of insight to your economic literacy, …apparently, even if money grew on trees (as the NDP seems to think) you wouldn’t want them to touch it.

  14. Long time liberal, Voted for conservative in ’11 because dion and professor iggy went far left just to pander to far-leftists that went to NDP, willing to go back to vote for trudeau.

    but the NDP?? i’d rather die then vote for a party that thinks you can create wealth by making public sector jobs without the private sector jobs to support them.

    I predict a dion like “green cra…. err….. i mean shift” for the NDP in the next election.

    • Closed mind then? Rather go to Harper the corrupt than Dion or Iggy? Have a long, open minded look at the alternatives. I think the NDP are a better option than biased opinions paint them.

      • There’s nothing “biased opinion” about it appaulled.
        It’s basic economics. People who vote Liberal and Conservative know something about it…….NDP supporters….not so much.
        Besides, if you vote for the wacky NDP economic policy, we will also get stuck with all of their other idiocies and quirks.
        (See Libby Davies…..9 11 Truther, Boat to Gaza..etc..etc…)

  15. I started voting NDP soon after working at the WAP. The liberal and conservatives are crooks. Let the NDP have another chance instead of you yes men and women going with the same old party. We’ve been screwed long enough.

    • “after working at the WAP”

      err… the Women Against Pornography??

  16. To my way of thinking, it is not that people mind the idea of a tax increase as they do not think they get value for the taxes they pay. Mulcairs challenge will be to convince voters that the taxes they currently pay will be spent wisely and that any new taxes will bring better value to them than spending the money themselves. That is a tough sell. If Mulcair sticks to explaining exactly what the new taxes will bring back to Canadian families, he may make the sale. I would focus on improving research in all areas, better support to seniors, better support to service personnel, better environmental oversight of resource projects and better targeting of skills training for the young. I would stay away from job creation schemes, gun registry and massive tax increases to middle class voters. I would support free trade, but talk about shaping it to better benefit Canada. I would talk about protecting Canadian jobs through better regulating TFWs and meeting labour shortages through immigration rather than TFWs.
    I would focus heavily on the similar arrogant corruption between the Liberals and Conservatives by focusing on the senate as a example of nepotism where members from both parties stole from Canadians. Neither party has put fiscal controls on the senate and both can be tarred by the same brush. I would remind voters that the conservatives have driven up the debt, were behind robocalls and the in and out scandal while pointing to the Liberal Adscam. This would be a time to point out that the liberals are just the flip side of the same coin. I would use terms like ” twiddle Dee and twiddle dum, To describe them.

    • Appaulled…..not that NON-Ndper’s weren’t aware already, but thanks for stating it so clearly.
      You wrote:
      “convince voters that the taxes they currently pay will be spent wisely and that any new taxes will bring better value to them than spending the money themselves”
      And that’s the problem. Socialists seem to think that only THEY know how you should spend YOUR OWN money. Sorry…..I know where my money needs to go, more than any Government ever will. They do not manage my finances, so they can’t know where the money has to go.
      As a well known blogger likes to say, “You’re not smart enough to tell me how to live”
      The NDP is the MOST intolerant and freedom hating party in Canada today. Hiding that reality being the term “social justice” doesn’t fool people who vote Liberal or conservative.
      (Might work on the Greenies though)

      • Might I point out that Harper is currently spending your money on things that I am sure you do not approve of as well. Millions on ads for programs that do not even exist for starters. A billion lost. Senate scandal due to expenses charged to the tax payer while Conservatives campaigning. I could go on but you get the point.
        I come back to the point of my post though and that is that many people do not mind paying taxes when they get value in return. Many government services give good value and if Mulcair can convince voters that he will give people good value for the taxes his government collects, I think they will support him. You do not seem to think he would so you will not vote for him and that is fine. Not everyone will agree with you though.

        • I actually agree with you about spending on “THe Economic Action Plan”….all political….
          but no where NEAR the Billion you fabricate from thin air.
          If you were to refer to the gun reigstry, or gas plant cancellations, Green Energy Act……..then we’d be talking real money.
          And the senate scandal is not a scandal, regardless of what the CBC or the oopposiiton would have you believe. A political staffer used HIS OWN MONEY to reimburse taxpayers for the living expenses of Duffy. Duffy didn’t technically break the rules, but he bent them enough that when Harper found out about it he ordered it reimbursed.
          Duffy’s actual problem, according to the deloitte audit, was the $1,050 claimed in per diem while he was on vacation.
          That’s not even a scratch on 1 Billion…and again, the taxpayers were not out any money.

  17. Vote eco-socialism Vote NDP

  18. Harper has run the worst Canadian government I can recall. Trudeau is a cute lightweight- a 180 degree swing from smart, policy oriented leaders like Dion and Iggy the Liberal party chose who ultimately failed to win. Mulcair is smart, experienced, is in command of his brief, knows how to build good policy, but is as appealing as a formidable headmaster. Maybe he should start wearing a blue sweater?

    I believe Mulcair could make an excellent PM, if he could somehow present a more human public face. He has excellent command of his brief and of his party. In my eyes however he is seriously compromised by the NDP Sherbrooke Declaration that would allow any province to separate with only 50%+1 votes – presumably a political sop to cultivate Quebec support – which I see as dangerous for Canada and costing votes outside Quebec. I would also want to see him advocate a middle eastern policy with more depth than “give Tel Aviv whatever it wants”, but he appears just as pro-Israel as Harper. Will he also kick occupied peoples when they are down?

    However the biggest problem I see for Mullcair is that he has at least one serious weakness in his front bench. A first class union negotiator as Peggy Nash may be but that alone does not make her Finance Minister material IMHO. This is a major problem as the economy is always the top or second most important voter concern. The Liberals could field McCallum, Brison or Goodale for Finance, and the Conservatives have Flaherty who has warmed the seat for seven years so far. Both the Liberals and Conservatives will attack the NDP as inexperienced, business-hostile tax-and-spend socialists, and right now Mulcair has no real comeback.

    • I will forgo picking apart the majority of your ill-informed and ridiculous post and simply focus on the one thing you wrote that is actually accurate.
      You wrote:
      “This is a major problem as the economy is always the top or second most important voter concern”
      Which, may help explain to you why peolpe do NOT want the NDP in power at the federal level.

  19. It seems the NDP government is in big trouble and on track to lose their election in 015. Canada will, at that point, be an NDP-free zone. It seems that, in the absence of Jack Layton, the No Development Party is in big trouble.

  20. He looks like he is permanently angry, not an image to be elected with.

    • The majority of Canadians are angry with what Harper is doing to the country. A policy-free vapid man-child is not an image to be elected with, but righteous anger backed up with substance and policy works just fine.

  21. Focusing on the so-called Senate scandal is a big mistake. People have a lot of issues they’d like to see discussed. Not happening when day after day after day it’s nothing but questions about Mike Puffy et al. People are tired of this, and don’t see any reason to be optimistic about the future if Angry Tom is running the show. So in the interim, they are parking their vote with the spawn of Pierre.

  22. What’s missing here is an understanding of how inaccurrate and unsophisticated polling is in this country. The numbers are there – polls leading into the last three or four elections have mostly been wildly off. This failure results in shoddy, lazy journalism at the root of an otherwise solid piece. Unfortunate.

  23. So, Tom is making comparisons about Liberal Corruption, and Conservative Corruption.
    He should have spelled it out more clearly.
    Liberal Corruption: When in power, the Liberals have been caught repeatedly stealing untold millions of dollars from taxpayers to line their own pockets.
    Conservative Corruption: Conservative Staffer takes $90,000 from his OWN bank account, and uses it to pay back the housing allowances of senator Duffy.
    yeah…I can’t tell the difference…can you?
    What Tom doesn’t seem to recall, is that HE WAS A LIBERAL IN THE MOST CORRUPT PROVINCE IN CANADA…..WHILE HE WAS A LIBERAL.
    Oh…and he says he turned down a bribe. Is he telling the truth? Who knows, but what we do know is that he initially lied about it until he was caught. Reporters should have asked tom is that was the FIRST time he’d been offered a bribe….and was it the FIRST time he turned one down?
    That being said, I can understand Tom’s frustration. He’s been doing all the heavy lifting as an effective Opposition Leader, and his numbers are going down. Someone should tell Tom that the media isn’t his friend, though many of them share the same socialist mindset. The media have already decided who they want to be PM, Tom…and it ain’t you. They want the son of Pierre bud….get over it. It doesn’t matter what you do, or how you do it….face reality.
    Justin is “prettier” than you….and for many Canadians, that’s all that counts. Never underestimate the shallow-ness of the Canadian voters in Tortonto, Montreal, or Vancouver.
    Substance loses to style.

  24. Sordid Affairs – precedent for Political Awakening: No longer is there presumption of truth (or trust) in government but rather an assault upon civil society, perhaps an abhorrent rise of fascism; Look at the rise of fascist parties in the 1930’s. How did they adopt extreme ideologies so quickly?; Look, see: ‘Character’ and ‘Livelihood’ assassination without due-process; MPs emasculated via Nomination Certificates and Omnibus bills; Rampant ‘in-camera’ politicking; Rubber stamped legislation limiting debates; Officials ordered into silence; Press denied right of enquiry; Subversive fraud – Robocalls using party’s database and ‘Elections Canada’ preferring charges against braggart ex-Tory staffer – party lawyer coaching every conservative party witness involved in the investigation; Back-Room deals; New ‘Gag Orders’ within all employment contracts; Cynically – Assets sold and Services reduced, distorting pre-election budget; Breech of taxpayer’s trust; $millions funnelled into partisan Deloitte audits; Question Period scripted and voiced by un-elected perverted automatons; MP expenses still concealed ($450 million in 2013) despite Senate scandal; Advanced education funding slashed; Federal government dismiss over 2,000 scientists, hundreds of programs and world-renowned research facilities, in 5 years – the scale of the assault upon ‘knowledge’ defies belief ; Fisheries and Science libraries’ content destroyed; Over $105 million wasted on ‘Economic Action Plan’ advertisements; Canada Post crisis; Entrenched culture of corruption; F-35 ‘untendered’ $billions contract fiasco; The plan to replace Sea Kings is (years late and) $200 million over budget; Ubiquitous deceit; Overt and outrageous unaccountability by the PM; Elimination of collective bargaining; Subversive abandoning of senate rules (and Governor General’s unique authority) regarding due-process and suspension of senators. The power to suspend is the Governor General’s; Retroactive residency rules
    ‘invented’ to whitewash senate audits; Auditor General investigating; RCMP court
    documents have implicated PMO staffers, lawyers, senators and Sen. Irving Gerstein, the conservative party official, in the PMO/Senate scandal. Is the PM now playing the ‘National Security’ card blocking investigations to his office? Why has the RCMP not yet cited Section 16 of the ‘Parliament of Canada Act’ (which does not require ‘proof of intent’ as does the Criminal Code) and so expand their investigation to the Prime Minister – the cause of the rotting ‘fruits’? Minister of justice MacKay has a duty to ensure the administration process of public affairs is lawful; RCMP have declined comment; Charges laid, under the ‘criminal code’ may not stick; ‘Double jeopardy’ comes into play, where no charges can be further laid under the ‘more appropriate’ Sec.16 of the ‘Parliament of Canada Act’; Charter of ‘Rights and Freedoms’ trampled; $billions diverted into CSIS & CSEC spying since 2011 – then defence minister MacKay sanctioned secret monitoring of Canadians with ‘Five Eyes’. There was a time CSIS had an ‘independent’ Inspector General (and oversight) BUT, the PM abolished that office in 2012; Shortly, we will be shielding our phones with ‘Faraday cages’ and endure rampant finger printing, unless implanted by party RFID chips; Veterans’ Affairs offices closed this January – he is ‘in deed’ the predatory pariah sucking life blood from veteran’s services; Weakest year of job growth nationally since 2009 – the economy lost 45,900 jobs in Dec. 2013; Unemployment Rate rose to 7.2 %; Now, this New Year, we will closely observe ‘on-camera’ his face, his fabrications, his particular prejudice for judgement without due-process; His reference to washed, then sequestered emails for the RCMP to parade as truth, whole and nothing but. Indeed – the full truth (following the next general election) will spotlight ‘Nigel Wright’ and Sen. Gerstein’s party ‘slush-funding’ of partisan Senators and Journalists. There is no place for an untrustworthy PM (or party); You PM, exhibit a perverted relationship with ‘truth’; You are the new ‘LOW’ in political history. You have severely betrayed us, the common people. You are an affront to Common’s and Senate decency. You are ‘NOT’ above the Governor General; Try your lies again in 2014, under oath, and stir up honest people more, then observe the consequences. You are now the ‘expendable’ kicked to the curb without due-process and, your initial motive (for cover-ups and subversion), revealed; We, the common people, have a solemn duty to expose your indefensible actions perpetrated by your genetically impoverished government. I sincerely hope all who observe your deceptions, and are not otherwise beguiled, will respond to you – the most reviled PM in Canadian history. I call for a coalition of NDP, LIBERAL and GREENs, and a people’s class-action lawsuit to enforce Sec.16 of The Parliament of Canada act.

    • Clearly, Robbie….you had to make TWO trips to the store once you realized the one package of tinfoil you purchased was not sufficient for your new hat.

  25. “Most Canadians no doubt missed the news that Jacques Corriveau, an 80-year-old former Liberal organizer, was finally charged last month with fraud in relation to the so-called sponsorship scandal”

    Quelle surprise! With our media, that was by design!

    • I’m sure Monsieur Corriveau, will be too ill to attend court……and his memory will fail at some point.
      Probably the point where he’s asked to name names of Liberal MP’s involved in the theft…..both past and present.

  26. How discouraging that this article does not once address French citizen Mulcair’s shameful record in supporting the separatists’ discriminatory language laws, and his treacherous attempts to sabotage the Clarity Act. These are crucial issues that are far more important to our country than any temporary issue of right vs left.

    French citizen Thomas Mulcair does not deserve the vote of any loyal Canadian.

  27. This is what happens when you elect the most unlikeable man in the NDP for their leader.

  28. My question is where are Mulcair’s loyalties as he proudly holds dual citizenship with France and Canada though I don’t approve of his party I give him a plus for pressing on about the Senate Stealing,heck, I might even change my mind about his party if we were to eventually abolish that hog trough.

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