Mulcair’s bull by the horns attitude may have Conservatives shaking in their boots

On his 58th birthday, New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair stood in the House of Commons for more than an hour delivering perhaps his most important speech yet as leader.

He was elected the party’s seventh leader in its 51-year history earlier this year, replacing Jack Layton who led the party to an historic second-place finish in the 2011 election before dying of cancer.

Mulcair, a Montreal lawyer, professor and former Quebec Liberal environment minister before defecting to the NDP and winning a breakthrough Quebec seat in 2007, has big shoes and party expectations to fill.

The rap on him is that he is a Quebec nationalist, an iffy federalist, a bully personality with a propensity to fish for Ontario and Quebec votes by bashing the prairie resource industry.

All that bodes poorly for his chance to increase prairie NDP representation from its current three.

Yet Mulcair was in fine form Oct. 24, responding to the government’s latest outrageous omnibus budget bill that changes scores of acts and forces MPs to vote yea or nay to what veteran Liberal MP Ralph Goodale called a “dog’s breakfast” of a bill with some good, some bad and much not budget related.

If Conservative operatives were watching, they would have seen an opposition leader that will be a much more formidable political opponent than they faced in the last three hapless Liberal leaders.


If Liberals were watching, they might be running for the hills of 
Saskatchewan even as they fantasize that Justin Trudeau is the next Messiah to lead them past the NDP and back to power.

Mulcair was articulate, forceful and confident as he spoke in thep Commons for more than 70 minutes.

He controlled his facts on food issues, even if the Conservatives argued they were fictions.

Food inspection budgets have been cut, deregulation is the norm, the result is food safety issues and farmers are suffering through no fault of their own, Mulcair argued.

“In the Conservatives’ mouths, reducing red tape is synonymous with reducing public protection,” he said.

“Walkerton (an Ontario incident when cattle feces made it into the town water and killed a number of people), XL Foods and listeriosis are reducing public protection.”


He raged at agriculture minister Gerry Ritz for his performance, called for him to be “booted out” and suggested an NDP government would be more forceful in protecting public health and food safety.

The result of Conservative failures is “a hit for our farmers and our producers. It is a hit for public confidence in our food system.”

While Conservatives continue to mock him for what they call a $21 billion “carbon tax on everything” that was a carbon cap-and-trade proposal, they will have to explain their party’s own 2008 election platform promise of cap-and-trade.

Meanwhile, Mulcair drew his political line in the sand less than three years before the next federal election.

“For the first time in a very long time we are beginning to have hope,” he said. “In the next campaign, there will be two opposing visions of our country.”

That writes off the Liberals. It should make Conservatives at least a bit nervous.


  • Relayer

    Ok, ‘fess up: which NDP staffer wrote this tongue bath?

  • hollinm

    Mulcair may make a good speech but the fact is he leads a caucus of kids, activists and separatists. He will not be able to escape the reputation of the NDP as a tax and spend party. His cap and trade/carbon tax policy will not fly and of course his comments about dutch disease etc. will prove that he does not have the economic chops needed in today’s world.

    • Jayson

      Everyone keeps talking about the NDP’s reputation as a tax and spend party, what the heck do you think taxes are meant for? Tax and horde while the country starves for services? Or do you prefer the Conservative’s spend and borrow?

      Nobody complains about smooth roads, good hospitals that saved their lives or good schools that taught their children well. So why complain when the bill for it all shows up? I guess it’s just human nature, you don’t complain about the full tank of gas you have, just the cost of when you go inside to pay for it.

      As for the cap and trade, as much as you may want to stump your feet and say climate change isn’t happening or won’t effect you. It is and if we don’t want to be the cause of our own demise, we need to start taking care of this place. Best way to do that, make it cost us. No different than teaching a lesson to a child, you want to break it, you pay for it.

      It’s better than leading a caucus of sheep who either can’t or aren’t allowed to talk for themselves or speak for the people they are paid to represent.

    • You must have forgotten. Many, if not all of us, were kids at one time and well…
      grew up.! Now as a senior adult, I wish I was a kid again.
      Lets give the “kid” their dues. They very often make more sense and use more “kid logic” than a lot of adults……Don’t you think?

  • Andy

    Well lets not get too political, lol. If you are happy with the Conservatives/Reform, then vote for them. If you want government to go in a different direction, vote NDP. Seems simple to me.