Who is Thomas Mulcair?

Tariq Jeeroburkhan

March 3, 2012– A former Quebec provincial Liberal who seems to have danced with every partner at the ball, the latest story coming alleges that there were rumors of a cabinet post waiting for him had he crossed the bridge from Quebec provincial politics to join the Conservatives in 2007.

Today, the whispered consensus in the halls of Canadian political circles seems to be that Mr. Mulcair would have been a much better fit with the Conservatives then with the NDP in 2007 when he jumped into federal politics – but the Tories simply wouldn’t let him in.

The National Post cites a “Tory source close to discussions” as saying Mr. Mulcair demanded a cabinet post as his price to join the Conservative party after leaving the Quebec provincial government, but the Tories refused.

Mr. Mulcair calls the claim “transparently false”, but did acknowledge that he spoke with all the political parties in Ottawa except the Bloc, before he joined the NDP – and this did include talking with the Conservatives.

As they heard of the allegations, NDP leadership candidates, to their immense credit took the high road and defended Mr. Mulcair.

“I don’t question his loyalty,” said Nathan Cullen.

“I’ve known Tom for five years and let’s be clear – he is not a Conservative or a Liberal, he is a New Democrat; end of story,” said Paul Dewar.

Although Brian Topp made clear that he would prefer not to speculate about Mr. Mulcair’s past, in an email he did declare that “Tom and I have a legitimate difference of opinion on the direction of the party.”

From my perspective, I have not decided who I would endorse for leader of the NDP, and none of the campaigns I’ve volunteered for over the last month in Quebec (I’ve volunteered for at least 4 candidates) have offered me a salary or made me feel like I was working with them – they seem to prefer having their volunteers work for them, just like the Old Liberals.

It’s not a question of whether I like or don’t like Tom Mulcair – personal feelings about another individual should have no standing whatsoever in politics at any level – especially when we are all supposed to be on the same team (just ask the Old Liberals how the Martin-Chretien battles turned out for their party)! If Mr. Mulcair does become the next leader, I will work as honestly with him as I will with whoever the next leader is.

What I am saying is that I am not sure that Mulcair has shown me that he is capable of treating those, within the party and without, who disagree with his personal views, with the adequate respect of a leader – especially when the majority of NDP members agree that our next leader should be a “unifier” and not a “divider”.

Mulcair’s methods of organization, delegation and even his perspectives are exactly identical to the old Federal Liberals that Quebecers have walked away from. His strategy is to rally his volunteers AGAINST something, not for anything – and then to keep his staff happy and paid until the next election, when they will find something else to rally and organize the volunteers AGAINST.

A problem for the party was that I experienced the same close-mindedness from the staff responsible for other candidates’ Quebec leadership campaigns as well.

You can’t represent a centrist electorate with reactionary tactics, even if you are Tom Mulcair because reactionaries can never lead, they can only oppose. If we wouldn’t accept it from the Old Liberals, why would we accept it from him?







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Filed under Canadian Politics, Local Stories, Political Accountability

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