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article imageOp-Ed: Tom Mulcair — Leadership loss predictable Special

By Paula Kirman     Apr 10, 2016 in Politics
The 2016 NDP Policy Convention concluded with 52 percent of delegates voting in favour of a leadership convention, effectively ousting Tom Mulcair as party leader.
This is the first time NDP delegates have removed a leader in such a way. In other situations, the leader was given the opportunity to resign. Not so this time, as it was evident from Mulcair's spirited address to the convention that he was hanging in until the last possible moment.
Even after the disastrous results for the NDP in the October 2015 federal election, Mulcair showed no signs of intending to resign. There are those who felt he should have immediately following the election, and perhaps saved himself from such a public failure of this vote of confidence. Many NDP voters felt the party strayed from its left-wing, socialist roots, opting for a balanced budget as a campaign promise (NDP has traditionally campaigned on a deficit budget) and reportedly not allowing potential candidates to run based on their stance on Palestinian human rights and criticism of Israeli policies. The election saw the NDP go from being the official opposition to taking only 19.7 percent of the vote (44 seats).
Tom Mulcair at the NDP Policy Convention  April 8-10 in Edmonton.
Tom Mulcair at the NDP Policy Convention, April 8-10 in Edmonton.
The final nail in the coffin for Mulcair's leadership happened during the policy convention weekend, where he earned the wrath of some of the Alberta delegates, and even Premier Notley herself, who chastised Mulcair in the media for his statement that he would do everything possible to keep oil and coal in the ground, if that is what the party voted for. This was in reference to the controversial Leap Manifesto, an environmental document that alienates Alberta because of its emphasis on no new pipelines and keeping fossil fuels in the ground; instead, focusing on developing the renewable energy sector. However, in a province hard-hit by the falling world prices of crude, this was the wrong approach — especially since the convention was in Alberta, and Premier Notley's speech in favour of pipelines and Alberta's energy policy (already among the most progressive in Canada) drew multiple standing ovations.
In fairness, the late Jack Layton was a very hard act to follow, but between a bad election campaign and basically alienating Alberta party members, Mulcair pretty much sealed his own fate. The NDP now has the opportunity to reinvent itself and try to put itself back into political relevancy.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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