Saturday, April 02, 2016

Will Tom Mulcair Blow Up the NDP?

It's looking more and more like Tom Mulcair will survive his leadership review. Or at least get a two year reprieve. 

New Democratic Party Leader Tom Mulcair should have two years to rebuild the party’s fortunes before being replaced, but that could come sooner if he does poorly in next week’s leadership review, says one of Canada’s most powerful labor leaders.

But while Jerry Dias, a man who I respect, makes a reasonable case for not firing Mulcair.

I still don't believe that he's the man to renew the NDP...

And others like Murray Dobbin, feel that if he survives the party is doomed. 

If delegates recognize that the party faces an existential crisis, they will reject Thomas Mulcair and confront the hard reality that Justin Trudeau is making the NDP irrelevant. It's an intriguing paradigm shift. 

For 10 years, Stephen Harper fantasized about condemning the Liberal party to irrelevancy. Now the Liberals are in a position to destroy the NDP, sending the party, like Social Credit, into the dustbin of history.

Dobbin believes that Mulcair has never taken proper responsibility for the party's election debacle. 

Or for letting Justin Trudeau out manoeuvre him...

Tossing out the "run from the left and govern from the right" formula the Liberals have relied on for decades, Trudeau moved the Canadian political centre a huge step to the left, leaving the NDP completely stranded. 

The NDP cannot craft a credible response to this budget given its platform and Mulcair's deeply conservative politics. It can't come back from where it is today.

And that instead of sharing the blame, Mulcair should have blamed himself, and said and done the honourable thing.

What we didn't hear, and should have, was "We completely bungled the election and betrayed our supporters and the thousands of people who worked their butts off for months and gave us millions of dollars to campaign for their values. I am resigning."

Dobbin also believes that the party's famed loyalty to its leaders, could on this occasion prove fatal.

Loyalty is an important principle in any party. And if the NDP had a leader who knew when to get off the stage, it need not be a problem for the party. But when a leader like Mulcair is prepared to exploit it to cling to power, it is tantamount to a political suicide pact.

As for me, even though I voted for them, I don't know enough about the inner workings of the NDP to decide whether Dobbin is right or wrong.

And since I think Justin Trudeau is turning out to be a great prime minister, I have to admit at this point I don't really care.

But I have made my feelings clear.

And I still believe that whatever qualities Mulcair has, and he does have a few.

He is not a leader of the future...

For a very simple reason. When Mulcair moved the NDP to the right, and erased the word "socialism" from the party's constitution.

He didn't seem to understand that the future is left, and that for many young people "socialism" is not a dirty word.

And that since that poll was taken a year ago, a real left-wing leader like Bernie Sanders has no doubt boosted those numbers.

Which is no doubt why he is so popular with so many young Americans...

And for moving his party to the left, no doubt one of the reasons Justin Trudeau is so popular with young Canadians...

So all I will say is that this is a story with no villains. The NDP still has some good people.

But if it  insists on repeating the same mistakes.

They will end up with the same result...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. Anonymous9:24 AM

    Simon: please report on this story.

  2. Why oh why would the NDP even consider Mulcair staying as their leader. If he cared about the party at all he would resign. There is no way that the NDP will win in 2019 with Mulcair as their leader. The Canadian have people have spoken. The NDP Simon, should Listen to them.

    1. hi Pamela....there is a tradition of sticking with the leader, but when you're at 11% in the polls, thanks in large part to Mulcair's misdirection, I can't understand why this tradition should be preserved. As I said in my post, Mulcair may have served his party well when he was leader of the opposition, but he is not their future....

  3. Anonymous10:57 AM

    Mulcair who? If he or his predecessor Layton had joined with the Liberals, or even fielded candidates strategically to avoid vote-splitting and giving Canadians unnecessary suffering at the hands of the Harper regime, then I would have more respect for him.

    Alas, he couldn't set aside his enormous ego for the love of Canadians. As far as I'm concerned, the NDP should be absorbed by the Liberals, and we should go to a two-party system to avoid vote splitting in the future. That's what kept Harper in power for so long at the detriment of Canadians. I'll never get those 10 years back!

    So, the hell with Mulcair and his NDP.

    1. hi anon...well I have always supported the unity of the left, to avoid the danger of vote splitting, but have always got nowhere. But if the NDP continues on its present course, many NDP supporters will vote for the Liberals, and the party will be absorbed or effectively disappear....

  4. Anonymous12:55 PM

    On the big issues, the Liberals have more in common with the Conservatives than they do with the NDP. To hell with both of the elitist, pro-corporate, pro-globalization, pro-rich, anti-worker parties.

    1. hi you have another party you suggest we join? You have to be realistic and accept the country we live in. And in that country, at this time, Justin Trudeau and his party are the only choice....

  5. I think it's more than a safe bet to say Mulcair will never be prime minister of this country. So what exactly is the point in his staying on as NDP leader? His insistence on maintaining the role makes it appear he just covets the job. He is after all a career politician. I think you need to alter your 'Resign' photo of Harper and give it a new face, Simon.

    1. hi Omar...I'm afraid Mulcair is a professional politician and does just covet the job. And you're right I may have to recycle some of those "resign" photos of Harper... ;)

    2. e.a.f.3:51 PM

      Mulcair is a professional politician and so are the rest of them. its not only what they do for a living, its what they are.

      Currently there are no alternatives to Mulcair within the party. So the party is best to stay with him, while the find the next couple of young leaders. if we do a repeat of what happened when Broadbent left to make way for "new" leaders, we saw how well that went.

      Mulcair speaks well. Operates well in the Commons. If the party does not have a leader which can be forceful in the Commons, we are lost.

      Many of the things we have to day in Canada were NDP ideas, which the federal Liberals "stole". So even if the NDP doesn't become the party in control, they can be the party with the ideas and the moral compass of Parliament. it was the CCF/NDP which wanted a federal health care plan. Do you think we would have it today, if it were not for the NDP. Pearson passed it, but its time had come and it only came because of the NDP.

      Yes, it would be wonderful if the NDP were the party in office, but if its not, lets at least be the party of ideas, which will eventually be implemented by others.

      There have been any number of politiicans who moved from one party to another. In B.C. the move was from provincial NDP to federal Liberal. Same in Ontario. In Quebec it would appear they go from other parties to the NDP.

      I just don't see the "need" at this time to replace Mulcair because he lost the election. The numbers are still the "traditional" NDP numbers. Layton and Quebec were the unusual.

    3. A right-leaning Liberal who toyed with the idea of joining not just the Conservative Party of Canada, but the Harper led CPC. Mulcair has been a polarizing figure since his elevation as leader. His staying on will be toxic for the party. #Resign

  6. Anonymous3:05 PM

    I always thought that one problem with the NDP becoming the official opposition was the increased membership list of new members that did not share a left leaning view of the party. Thus the move to scrub socialism, to move to the right, to consider policies that may not benefit the working man as much as they should. I do not see where the Liberals have moved so far to the left, they have merely moved back into a centrist position that appears to be so far left due to the rightist leanings of today's world.

    1. hi anon...I am considerably to the left of all parties, so I agree with you, the Liberals do probably look more left than they really are. But one has to accept reality, and accept that it's still a lot better than where we spent the last ten years. And Trudeau is a different kind of politician so who knows to what even better place he could lead us...

  7. I think you are right that Mulcair should go. I can see a few reasons in favour of him staying, but overall I think the party needs a clean break. But this 2-year thing may be a clever gambit - "Please keep me for 2 more years & then you can boot me if you want". Well, not necessarily. If Mulcair stays on for 2 years, it may become a full 4 years right until the next election.

    1. hi Craig...I hate to be harsh, but to me it seems like a matter of survival. With Justin Trudeau now prime minister, I can't see Mulcair being able to compete with him. And I question whether choosing a leader with just one year to go before an election makes any sense. That leader would have very little time to get Canadians to know him or her, and in my opinion would only lead to another debacle...

  8. Anonymous12:45 AM

    Simon, I agree with everything you've said on this topic here and in your last post. I am now decidedly non-partisan after having been an NDP supporter my whole adult life - a considerable number of years.

    I donated heavily (for me) to both branches of the NDP party for their elections in 2015. Since then they have flooded my inbox - not with news or calls for members' suggestions, only pleas for more and more money. Unless someone like Bernie Sanders appears here, no way will I ever again support any political party in any way; and even then, I will think and investigate very carefully.
    So I really don't care whether Mulcair goes or stays; I could be wrong, but I don't think it will make much difference to that party's prospects either way.

    1. hi anon...I have always tried to be as non partisan as possible in the hope that I might encourage progressives to form one mighty party or movement. But I have to agree, the NDP seems calcified, and far too conservative in its ways. When it should be the party of new and exciting ideas. Whether it forms a government or not, that in my opinion is its most valuable role, and right now it's just dead in the water....

    2. I wonder if the Green party will start picking up some more voters again during this term from those people who are not happy with the NDP and aren't sold on the Liberals. The Greens didn't do well in October because most NDPers & Liberals wanted Harper out and couldn't afford to 'waste' a vote on the Greens. But for those voters who aren't entirely satisfied with the NDP or the Liberals, the Greens could become another option again.

    3. Anonymous4:54 PM

      If they have true electoral reform implemented for next election, I think you will see positive gains for the Green Party. Many people I know support the Greens, but are hesitant supporting a party in a FPTP electoral system, when their vote will only serve as a protest vote against the policies of the other parties.

  9. Douglas C6:37 AM

    I'm still wondering why it is Tom is fighting so hard to retain his NDP job when what he should be doing is throwing his hat into the ring for the CPC Leadership.

    Given he:
    - Believes in balanced budgets at any cost;
    - LURRRVES to bash Trudeaus, both father and son (he even slammed the father, to the son's face, on the very day of the 10th anniversary of his death, on national TV during the debate); and
    - He's angry; and CPCers LURRRVES angry leaders.

    Tom would fit right in.

    1. If this were on Facebook I'd be clicking the 'Like' button. lol

  10. You know, I live down the street from Mulcair's (now abandoned) Outremont riding election HQ. There are still a couple of neighbours with his campaign signs (small version) proudly affixed to their porches. And in Quebec, that tradition is virtually unknown even during an election campaign. Like some diehards still can't believe it's over, and they didn't reach the promised land after all.

    That said, I'll let the party members figure it out for themselves. I am not invested. Mulcair never did it for me; not the way Layton did (towards the end at least). And Mulcair as leader was determined to put his own mark on the party in a forceful way, pushing some real progressiveness off the table in the process. It was sad to see. It was dishonest, and it was the sort of thing that reminded me why he didn't really leave a great taste in anyone's mouth after his stint with the Charest (provincial) "Mulroney" Liberals. If this was change, it wasn't significant change. That was clear. JT (and Anna Gainey's leadership too btw) blew everyone's socks off - first with an honest opening up of the LPC to become something much more responsive than it had been in generations, then by campaigning with style and confidence -- not just self-confidence, but confidence in us Canadians!

    The Dippers need to learn from that. It might take some time.

  11. I think it explains alot ever since the last post-election :) :

  12. The party also failed to capitalise on Mulcair's background of working construction through law school to pay for it vs Trudeau and Harper having had so much handed to them. Where were the photo ops with a hardhat?