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Blog Posted in avatar   André R. Gignac's Blog

NDP leadership: Distasteful attacks on Thomas Mulcair

By André R. Gignac
Posted Mar 19, 2012 in Politics
Excuse me, but I do not share the panic that is overtaking some quarters in the NDP over a possible victory for Thomas Mulcair on March 24. And although I am, like his rivals, a bit curious as to how Mr. Mulcair intends to “modernize” the NDP and “bring the center to the party”, I find it quite distasteful that his loyalty to the party’s core values would be questioned the way it has been in the past couple of weeks.
It’s as if Thomas Mulcair, the first NDP candidate elected in Québec during a federal election (and re-elected twice), a man who, with Jack Layton, opened many doors in the province to a party which does not even have a permanent wing there, a man who was named Deputy leader of the Party and then Opposition House Leader, it’s as if, I was saying, the man was considered good enough to deliver francophone seats to the party, but not sufficiently “pure” to lead it.
Since joining the leadership race, Mr. Mulcair has eclipsed other candidates and took over Brian Topp as front-runner, and there are reasons for that. Early in the race Mr. Topp was offered by the media to the public as the only front-runner, but for no other valid reason than him having received from the very start the support of the party’s establishment, including Ed Broadbent. In the long run, though, the otherwise excellent strategist who has never faced the electorate and is almost an unknown entity to Canadian voters, started to lose ground when other solid candidates, like Thomas Mulcair, showed up.
Now, is Mr. Topp in such trouble that he needs Ed Broadbent to come out swinging at Thomas Mulcair a mere five days before the Convention, and to the point of publicly doubting Mr. Mulcair’s “commitment to social democratic values”?
It is one thing to disagree with an adversary. It is another thing entirely to gang up against one’s political integrity and talk of him as if he was a dangerous alien.
I have the highest respect for Ed Broadbent, but he’s playing a losing game here. And, I must say, his complaining that Thomas Mulcair has leadership problems and does not possess the ability to unite the caucus is simply ridiculous. Immediately after the 2011 election, Thomas Mulcair showed the ropes to new MPs from Québec, and he has the formal support of 43 Members of Parliament in this leadership race. This reality should say a lot about Mr. Mulcair’s leadership and his ability to unite the Party.
What is it, exactly, that they are so afraid of?
What? Because Thomas Mulcair wants the NDP to behave like a national party ready to govern the country? Because he wishes the party would find new and modern formulas to explain itself to Canadian voters? Because he wants to energize a party that for too long has been content with the third place on the political map?
I, for one, rejoice at the possibility of a good political fight between Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper, but much more so in the possibility that, after the great Jack Layton, the NDP might have another real chance, under Mr. Mulcair, to form the next government.
Calm down, please, and rejoice with us.

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