03.25.2012 12:00 AM

In today’s Sun: Mulcair’s the wrong choice – but hat’s off to the NDP

Here’s the thing about the NDP.

They suddenly lost their charismatic, talented leader in the summer. They had an interim leader who used to be a card-carrying separatist.
They had a leadership race that was duller than dishwater. They have a caucus bursting at the seams with children, none of whom were expected to get their deposit back, let alone elected. They haven’t said or done anything of significance inside or outside the House of Commons since
May 2011. In fact, they have had a year that has been remarkably unremarkable.

But here’s the thing: As of this week, the pollsters at Environics tell us, they are tied for first place with the governing Conservative party. And their extraordinary victory in last May’s general election, which every pollster and pundit (including this one) regarded as temporary, an anomaly?

Well, it’s increasingly looking like it wasn’t temporary at all.


  1. Steve T says:

    Mulclair, and the NDP in general, will become the new Quebec party. The bulk of Mulclair’s speech was in French, and his rejection of any merger with the Libs is a tip to the unpopularity of the Liberals in Quebec.

    As much as I don’t like the NDP, if they can displace the atrocious Bloc, then this is a good thing all around.

  2. MCBellecourt says:

    I hope, for the sake of the country over party, that they keep hammering away at what the hell happened to our last election and to peoples’ rights to their votes.

    Liberals, keep hammering, too. Do. Not. Let. Up.

    • pomojen says:

      Agreed. I took note of who won the NDP leadership, thought about it a bit…. and went right back into thinking about Robocon and wondered when the meda/ opposition attention could go back to that. NDP, Libs, Greens, whatever the party and whoever is in the drivers seat, that’s what I want them to be relentless about right now.

      • Jan says:

        Head of EC is appearing before the committee this week. Cons thought they were clever and booked him for the day of the Budget when most of the media will be in lockup. A number of journalists are threatening boycott of the lockup.

  3. Dan says:

    For what it’s worth… the NDP hasn’t been in power, so we don’t have a history of breaking promises. In fact, in spite of our lack of power, we have a remarkable reputation for consistency and honesty. Even our worst opponents typically concede that: the NDP is principled and honest.

    In this day and age, when the political professional has become a parody of itself, that’s EVERYTHING.

    People have grown so cynical. They expect politicians to hear a question, avoid giving a direct answer, and segue to their scripted talking points. People expect politicians to campaign left, and then campaign right, and then inevitably fail to deliver. People expect politicians to pretend they agree with their constituents while saying as little as possible.

    The voters call it bullshit. The pundits calls it “professionalism”.

    You don’t have to dig too hard to find signs of how unprofessional the NDP is. The Liberal party loves to remind us of that at every turn. Apparently Parliament is off limits if you’re under 30, if you’re a single mother, if you’re anyone but a lawyer/CEO/lobbyist.

    But when Liberals positioned themselves as the “professional politics” party, they actually planted themselves on a crumbling platform. So it turns out, people are yearning for someone who says what they’re going to do, and then does it. And suddenly being a little rough around the edges becomes an asset.

    I guess we’ll find out what the NDP’s ceiling is. But they’re doing well right now. As much as I’d love to chalk it up to Turmel-mania, the real point is that the NDP has been relentlessly consistent in their principles — even as they’ve modernized. People *trust* the NDP. Even our worst enemies trust the NDP (to be the NDP).

    But again, maybe no one’s ever accepted enough of our promises that we’ve had a chance to break them yet.

    • Steve T says:

      The burger-flipper at McDonalds is also likely a very principled, honest, and “unprofessional” person as well. However, I’m not sure if I want him/her to run my country.

      That’s the key problem facing the NDP. As you point out, everyone typically likes them, and would love to go for a beer with them. However, many people are concerned the NDP don’t have what it takes to intelligently run Canada, and avoid imposing some random bizarre policies that will damage the economy or alienate us on the global stage.

      As much as the Cons and Libs have a checkered past of keeping promises, and getting involved in ethically-questionable behaviour, I still am comfortable that both parties have a sufficient grasp of economics and international diplomacy to keep Canada out of the ditch. I can’t say the same for the federal NDP.

      So, here is the task for the Dippers prior to the next election. Say and do things that are measured, thoughtful, and show you are mature enough to run the country. Don’t be reactionary, incendiery, goofy, isolationist, etc…. Who knows, people might actually gravitate your way.

      • pomojen says:

        You don’t think the Cons have alienated or embarrassed us on the world stage? How about their bizarre determination to push through a crime bill we can’t afford and that won’t work?

        I dunno…the competency bar is pretty low.

      • que sera sera says:

        What have you got against a principled, honest, “unprofessional” burger flipper running the country – couldn’t do any worse than the unprincipled, dishonest mailroom clerk currently in charge.

        • MCBellecourt says:

          I’ll second that, que–and I’m getting really fed up with people disparaging working people because they happen to flip burgers. These people work their asses off and pay taxes in the clothing and other work-related items they often have to pay for themselves. For too long I’ve seen janitors, burger cooks, and others in the service industry being slammed and abused, both verbally and physically, and too often I’ve found myself getting between these folks and the people who abuse them–and I do it because it is the right thing to do. I will NOT tolerate some asshole abusing a worker because the asshole thinks he’s better than that worker.

          Feudal mentality bullshit. Needs to stop.

      • Dan says:

        That’s a very Liberal comment of you. It shows two important reasons why you keep losing.

        (1) You think it’s more important to be measured than to be right. You were “measured” on Afghanistan. “Measured” on LGBTQ rights. Maybe it would have been better to do the right thing.

        (2) You think you’re entitled to run the country, because in spite of doing the wrong thing, doggone it, you guys just know better. And anyone who wears a name tag for a living is completely beneath you.

        If you manage to get rid of those two arrogantly stupid beliefs… then who knows, people might actually …

        Nah, too late.

  4. William says:

    Here’s the thing, the party brass in both the LPC & the NDP can say they don’t want to cooperate with each other in the next election but we’re the ones who vote and, more importantly, fund them.

    Between now and the next election, there is plenty of time to take action to build a grass roots movement to influence the upper brass.

    1) Write your NDP/LPC MP expressing your support for cooperation/merger in order to unite progressives and defeat the CPC
    2) Organize marches, rallies, etc.. of progressives who are advocating the same.
    3) Get the “Unite the Progressive” message into Facebook groups, the Twitterverse and other social media.
    4) Bombard the media with the message so that they are continually forced to confront the NDP/LPC about it.
    5) Threaten to withhold funding and your vote unless they comply.

    I’m sure there are many other options available but the point is, if you want change, it’s up to you to make it happen.

    Harper’s goal has been the death of the Liberal Party and, as a Liberal, that pisses me off. But if doing that results in a larger, united progressive front, then it’s a Pyrrhic victory for him.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      I have to concur here. In my riding, it’s not going to be easy (Con stronghold, and they could run a dead skunk and still hold it), and people here are so apathetic they might as well be dead. But, if I find any open windows, I’ll give it my best shot.

      I’m rather envious of the riding next door to mine.

      Their MP is none other than…

      Nathan Cullen.

      The folks in that riding have every reason and every right to be proud of their chosen MP, and from reading the newspapers in the area, they are. I have no doubt he’ll hang onto it in the next election.

    • David says:

      I’m afraid your dreaming. Nice try though. Mulclair will run the NDP like Chretien ran the Lib’s. He’s the boss. That’s not necessarily bad, but pressure tactics like you’re suggesting will be ignored or slapped down. A new boss is in town, and he will want to run it his way,thank you very much.

      • William says:

        Tell me how Mulcair or any leader of the LPC can prevent any voter from doing what I’ve suggested?

        • Michael says:

          Your idea has about as much chance of having an impact as a fart in a wind storm.

          The voters can do what they want, but the leaders can also chose to ignore them. It’s not as if those that get ignored are going to suddenly jump ship and vote for Harper.

          The NDP had the chance to elect a leader who based his platform on co-operation. Instead they were seduced by the illusion that they could gain power on their own.

          • William says:

            The voters can do what they want, but the leaders can also chose to ignore them. It’s not as if those that get ignored are going to suddenly jump ship and vote for Harper.


            You obviously can’t read. Or comprehend. Who said they would vote for Harper. They won’t vote at all.

  5. gord gemmell says:

    My main impression of Mulcai is that his skills at public speaking
    are less than negligible.

  6. CM says:

    Here’s the essence of Thomas Mulcair:

    “Listen up people, anger is better than love. Fear is better than hope. Despair is better than optimism. So let us be be angry, fearful and full of despair. And we’ll make me, Thomas Mulcair, the f****ing king of the world.”

  7. why are you ignoring this poll in your article,Warren? Thank you! http://bit.ly/GHORv3

    • William says:

      I concur. One environics poll four years before the next electiOn and one pre-mulcair as leader to boot, does not make for much in the way of proof that the ndp is ready to contend for the role of governing party.


      But apparently, one Angus Reid poll does.

      • Graham says:

        I’m a Conservative supporter, and I don’t believe the results of ANY poll.

        Too many factors can go in to influencing the results.

        Add to that, some involved in the polling industry intself are very angry about the tactis and methodology being used by many in the industry today.

    • SF Thomas, Ottawa says:

      Recent Harris Decima and Ekos polls have also been relatively in line with the general trend the Environics poll. Personally I’ve found that Angus Reid tends to overestimate the front runner support and underestimate the third party support.

  8. Sean says:

    I don’t think I’ll ever vote for the guy, but what the heck was with the media last night? He just won the leadership of a national party which is extremely difficult under any circumstances. However, it seems to be a right of passage that the minute someone becomes leader, they are immediately pronounced to be dead meat, incapable of winning an actual election. Chretien, McGuinty, Harper, now Mulcair. Sheesh, give the guy some time to grow and lets see what happens.

    • William says:

      Interesting point, over the years we’ve heard the media talk about how the public is not engaged with politics and politicians and that’s evident in voter turnout.

      I’d like to know how much media fuels that same narrative and makes it a self fulfilling event.

      I’m watching QP right now, Craig Oliver asked Mulcair off the bat how he responds to the charge that he’s divisive as the CPC email says… Mulcair responds by saying he had all candidates up on stage end of the night and there is no division, they are all NDP’rs etc…

      Oliver’s next question is how is he going to heal the divisions in the NDP…………just silliness.

      No wonder the average person tunes out.

      • Graham says:

        But you have to admit, when you break down the numbers, only 25.9% of all 131,000 NDP members actually voted for Mulcair. Seems like there are som deep dividions there to me. And it also goes for the Conservative parties as well.

        The Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak only received, what was it 67% support in a recent leadership review from party members? Hardly a ringing endorsement.

        Then media interviewed a lot of Cullen supporters yesterday after he was dropped from the ballot.

        There was a rather obvious pattern developing.

        Basically, they wanted to vote for Topp, but were concerned because he had no seat in the HOC, and at the same time didn’t want to vote for Mulcair because they didn’t like him or his “corporate” donors to his leadership campaign.

        Personally, I thought Topp made a huge mistake not going after the guaranteed NDP seat in Layton’s old riding last week.

        Had he done that, the results of the leadership race may have been very different.

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        Craig Oliver has enjoyed better days, more astute observations and more natural hair.

  9. CM says:

    I think Mulcair needs a better nick name. Here are my suggestions. I’m sure WK readers can add a whole bunch more.

    The Tom Bomb

    Ticking Time Bomb Mulcair. Because you know it’s only a matter of time before he goes off

    Thomas “Where’s the guerre” Mulcair

    Solitaire Mulcaire. Because it’s always about Tom

    Thomas “It’s a matter of hair” Mulcair

    Tom Réactionnaire Mulcair

    The Fresh Prince of Facial Hair Mulcair

  10. Graham says:

    Come now Mr. Kinsella:

    You have been around politics long enough to know opinion polls mean nothing.

    In campaign polls mean nothing, and out of campaign polls mean even less.

    Didn’t you work with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty last election? Pre election polling showed the PC’s in majority territory. As soon as the writ was dropped, polls showed the Liberals and PC were practically tied in support.

    You also fail to mention that poll Bloc are now just 4 points behind the NDP in Quebec.

    As for the NDP leadership convention: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Snore fest.

    There were 131,000 eligible NDP members who could have voted. They had WEEKS to do so.

    The first ballot saw just 65,200 bother to cast a ballot. Just 49.7% of those eligible.

    By the time results of the last ballot were announced, that number had fallen to just 45.3%.

    I have a feeling the alleged “cyber attack” was their way of trying to excuse the pathetic turnout.

    Now, when you use the math that some on the Left always do to “prove” Harper is an illegitimate Prime Minister because he only got the support of 25% of ALL 24,000,000 plus registered voters, you see that Mulcair only got about 25.9% of all eligible NDP voters support (33,881 of 131,000). That must therefore mean Mulcair isn’t a legitimate leader of the NDP too, right?

    And did anyone else notice one very glaring absence from the NDP convention last night? It’s called the Canadian Flag. Not a single one on the Stage or in the crowd.

    Now, as for the “F-35 boondoggle”. The term “boondoggle” is usually reserved to described a massive waste of money: the long gun registry, Ontario eHealth, Ontario Ornge air ambulance ect. To the best of my knowledge, the Conservatives have yet to spend a penny on the F-35. I will however grant you the fact they haven’t handled the file well at all.

    • Shaun says:

      Here’s a boondoggle for you: the G8/G20 summit spending. How much was the bill for that weekend again?

    • Yes, perhaps there are more appropriate words. John McCain calls the F-35 program a ‘scandal and a tragedy’.


      “Developing and buying these jets, and building the facilities to support them, was originally supposed to cost $233 billion. However, according to the April 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the JSF, these costs are now estimated to be closer to $383 billion. Unfortunately, this 61% increase in total development and acquisition costs will only get worse when the Department announces a new baseline cost estimate, which resulted from a second restructuring of the F-35 program over the last two years. Overall, the schedule for the end of the development phase and the start of full-rate production has slipped five years since the current baseline was set in 2007 and is now planned for 2018.”

      The discussion should be about requirements. It’s beyond me how anyone can say that our service men and women deserve the best and then point to this science experiment as the must have solution.

    • SF Thomas, Ottawa says:

      The F-35 is still a mess given how long the Conservatives insisted that this was the only plane they would buy and had a sealed contract. We know the F-35 though is likely to go over cost, isn’t performing as it was supposed to and now we find out this contract never existed.

    • Philip says:

      I find great irony in a Conservative telling anyone how democracy works.

    • Philippe says:

      You’re pissed about no Canadian flag at a convention & your leader can’t say he loves the country he leads? Go figure.

  11. Mulletaur says:

    Every majority government has the first two years to be unpopular. And the federal Liberals don’t have a leader yet, just an ‘interim’ one. We’ll see.

  12. Tim says:

    This can only be bad news for Bob Rae and the remaining rump of the Natural Governing Party.

    Witness the criticisms of the new leader of the NDP coming from Liberal types. A fiery temper? That’s called passion and it gets stronger, subtler and more powerful with age. Doesn’t play well with others? Neither did Gordie Howe. The new leader of the NDP understands the math of vote splitting just as well as Nathan Cullen, but he strikes me as a much tougher negotiator.

    Basically we have two progressive provincial politicians who’ve both switched sides leading the national opposition. One of them has a lot more seats, a lot less baggage, and is a lot younger.

    Where are the Liberals going to take on the NDP now? Ontario? BC? Quebec? Can they hold the Maritimes even? The Liberals are going to split the vote and die come next election. Bob Rae needs to express himself clearly and soonly or the water is going to start to drain faster. No decision is also a decision as someone once explained to me. I hope he does something creative and cool but I’m not holding my breath.

  13. CM says:

    Hey Warren, just wondering if Thomas Mulcair will tell Canadians how he will be voting in the upcoming French presidential election.

  14. Riaz Khan says:

    Mr. Kinsella:

    I will say it again. It is not the NDP or Liberal or who is the leader…… Mr. Harper is fully aware that his fate and CPC fate will be decided on the economic front. If the Oil prices continue the way they are, that will boost Canada’s economic picture but not that much. Western Canada will be rosier but the east of Manitoba will be not. Mr. Harper knows that and that is why he is pushing trading ties with Asia to sell the crude. He knows that. If the unemployment rate keep up specially in the East, Mr. Harper will be in trouble. Mr. TM or Rae or whoever will lead the Liberals are important but not that much in the larger context.

  15. Nic Coivert says:

    Thing is, as a Liberal lefty I’d vote for a Mulcairled NDP if I thought it pragmatic in my riding, and it may be, despite the quality of the candidate.

  16. allegra fortissima says:

    Really? Well, maybe for you. I see many differences between Harper and Mulcair. Mulcair’s speech was excellent, and I congratulate him. The minute the Liberal’s jibs luff, they come up with anger and despair “propaganda”. The truth is, the Liberals know that Mulcair and the NDP are a major party – if not THE major party very soon!

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