February 19, 2013 – 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 Federal Conservatives in 2003.
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 2003 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, NDPers, 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 (federal) party”. Brian Topp is now working with the BC NDP on their provincial team.
From my perspective, I never decided who I would endorse for leader of the NDP, but ended up voting for Nathan Cullen and Niki Ashton. But none of the campaigns I volunteered for in Quebec 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)! As Mr. Mulcair did become the next leader, I would work as honestly with him as I would with any other.
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 the 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. 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?