Alberta Politics

thomas mulcair comes to edmonton.

Thomas Mulcair NDP Edmonton
Thomas Mulcair

Last week I had to opportunity to hear Outremont MP and NDP leadership candidate Thomas Mulcair speak in Edmonton.

Aside from being aware of his role as Jack Layton‘s Quebec Lieutenant and that he was once a provincial cabinet minister, my knowledge of Mr. Mulcair was not vast.

I was not sure what to expect from his talk, but I found myself pleasantly surprised with Mr. Mulcair’s ability to offer intelligent pragmatic social democratic answers to a crowd  consisting of committed leftists was both impressive and sometimes brave (Blogger David Climenhaga has written an interesting blog post with his impressions of Mr. Mulcair’s visit to Edmonton).

Much like Brian Topp, who I heard speak in December 2011, I was left with the impression that Mr. Mulcair understands that most Canadians are political moderates and that that his party needs the support of those moderates to form a government.

Closer to home, Edmonton-Strathcona NDP MP Linda Duncan is expected to endorse Ottawa-Centre MP and leadership candidate Paul Dewar on Thursday.

Check out Pundits’ Guide for more information about the federal NDP leadership contest.

4 replies on “thomas mulcair comes to edmonton.”

I agree with Lou Arab’s complaint that Mulcair was impolite to those who would like more emphasis on social ownership, people with whom I agree, at least in terms of how I would LIKE our society to be organized: as an economic democracy.

But that is NOT the NDP position (or what most Canadians currently want) and none of the candidates for leadership are proposing structural economic changes beyond what Mulcair proposes. The difference is that Mulcair seems to recognize that if you are going to propose moderate social democratic policies to Canadians as a whole, you can’t obscure that by using cliches that the party faithful (and your opponents) can interpret as promising something you have no intention of delivering. He could do that more respectfully, but he is not wrong to be honest to the party faithful about his real intentions.

Candidates who are vague on the issue of socialization of industry will get skewered by the Tory media machine and there will be enough semi-evidence for them to convince a public that isn’t all that discerning. Mulcair’s clear line regarding what is and what is not the goal of the NDP for the next election–as opposed to perhaps some distant long term–should prove the best antidote to the inevitable daggers from the Right in 2015.

And he is promising a fair bit. I asked him after the session on Friday how much more he would collect from taxes to fund the improved environmental and labour enforcement that he calls for and to fund improved social programs and end poverty. He answered: $30 billion from increased corporate taxes, $20 billion from cap and trade, $10 billion from moving money from prisons to social programs.

Mulcair is dynamic and silver-tongued. He is, perhaps unfortunately, the only candidate who could go head to head with Harper in the election debates next time and win the prime ministership. The others are dull, dull, dull. Brian Topp, perhaps because he has always been in the backrooms, is a monotone in both English and French. Paul Dewar is a gentleman but he’s not hardhitting and I’ve heard him on Radio Canada, my radio station of choice; son francais est une farce. If the NDP goes into the next election with the polls showing it won’t hold onto Quebec, it need not be taken seriously by the rest of Canada as a contender for government and Layton’s and Mulcair’s success in 2011 in the province will have been for naught. Tant pis pour les Canadiens.

[…] After weeks of warring words about the economic influence of Western Canadian oilsands development on the crumbling Central Canadian manufacturing sector, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair will visit Alberta on May 31 to meet with business and political leaders. This will be Mr. Mulcair’s first visit to Alberta since being selected as his party’s leader in March (he visited Alberta at least once during the NDP leadership contest). […]

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