Friday, March 16, 2012

In Defence of Thomas Mulcair

I wasn't planning to write anything about the NDP leadership race today, but after yesterday's attack on Thomas Mulcair by Ed Broadbent, I feel I have no choice.

For that attack was ill advised, intellectually dishonest, and cognitively challenged. And mark my words, if the NDP rejects Mulcair it will not only condemn itself to irrelevancy once again, it will help re-elect Stephen Harper, and threaten the very future of this country.

First of all let me say that I was impressed by the quality of all the leadership candidates, who managed to conduct their campaigns without giving Harper any ammunition to attack the eventual winner. As the Liberals have done over and over again. 

Secondly, let me say that I have no axe to grind. I am not a card-carrying member of any party, and all I wish to see is the defeat of the evil Harper regime that is slowly destroying the Canada I love.

When the race began my sentimental favourite was Peggy Nash, because she's strong on economic issues, came from the labour movement that I hold dear to my heart, and because she's a woman. I also thought Nathan Cullen was impressive for urging cooperation between the NDP and the Liberals, even though that view isn't popular with the rank and file.

But after watching the debates in both English and French I have come to believe that Mulcair is the only one who can save us from a fate worse than death, for the following reasons:

One, he is the candidate who Stephen Harper fears the most.

The Stephen Harper Conservatives are starting to attack Mulcair.

There is no greater compliment the Conservatives can pay an opponent than to attack him. Just ask former Liberal leaders Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff if you don’t think that is true.

I'm tired of seeing Harper and his thugs bully one progressive leader after the other. I have seen Mulcair eviscerate his political opponents in the National Assembly in both English and French. I want him to do the same to the Harper Cons, and none of the other candidates can match him in that regard.

Two, they say he is an angry man, and that his Irish temper is a weakness not a strength. But he's not running for the priesthood, this country is full of angry people, who are sick of what the Cons are doing to Canada. And who better to represent them, and harvest that anger, than Mulcair?

And then there is Quebec, where as some may have noticed, the Bloc is back.

And the reason it's back is because Stephen Harper is doing everything to revive it, so he can split the vote four ways again, by making Quebecers feel that they don't belong in Canada. Even if that helps bring the PQ back to power for all the same reasons.

The Conservatives are about as popular as syphilis and bad breath in Quebec, and become all the more so as they introduce (or attempt to introduce) laws and what not that are acutely unpopular here. Take your pick: Bill c-10, a national securities regulator, the abolition of the long gun registry, the promotion of the Alberta oil sands, the anti-abortion murmurs from the Conservative backbench, etc. Harper’s image, meanwhile, is just as awful. As Peter White told me in January, “I’ve had Francophones say to me publicly that they think he’s got ears and a tail, and he eats babies. And these are conservatives.”

So if the NDP is going to recover, the next leader will have to make the case for Canada by attacking the Bloc in Quebec, as well as fighting the Harper Cons. None can do that better than Thomas Mulcair

And to believe that the Liberals can do that better than he can in Quebec is to live in a fantasy world.

Mulcair has also been attacked for appearing to rule out working with the Liberals. But why would he commit to that now? And the way I see it, with Bob Rae as a former NDPer, and Mulcair as a former Liberal, who are better qualified to eventually get the two parties to merge, or at the very least work together ?

Finally I should say this, I am far more to the left than any of the NDP candidates. But if Mulcair wants to reach out to other Canadians who may not share my views on the economy and other issues, by share my belief in our good old Canadian values, that's a good thing not a bad one.

For I totally despise the kind of progressive wankers, who would spend their time counting how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, or defending the "ideological purity" of the party like demented high priests in the Temple of Idiocy. 

When most of them have no idea about the political reality in Quebec. And are only crippling their party's chances of defeating the Harper Cons. Even as their country BURNS.

The members of the NDP have a historic choice to make. Choose a natural born fighter and a brave new world, or retreat to the failures of the past. So they should choose wisely eh? 

For if they make the wrong one, our country doesn't stand a chance. 

And sooner or later they will regret it FOREVER...


  1. "For I totally despise the kind of progressive wankers, who would spend their time counting how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, or defending the "ideological purity" of the party like demented high priests in the temple of idiocy."

    Ouch, but lol. Good one, eh.

    1. hi Omar...well sometimes I get a bit carried away, but some progressives do remind me of priests parsing scripture, oblivious to what is happening in the real world outside their hallowed temple. I recognize that political principles are important, but at a time when our country is being consumed by the Harperites, perhaps they should take a look at the big picture, and be a little more practical...

  2. I will be voting for the next NDP leader once I get my pin number in the mail or by email.

    I will agree that all the candidates have great qualities. They can certainly be part of a great cabinet in a future NDP government.

    First, I don't think that the next leader needs to come from Quebec. I do think that the next leader needs to have a good understanding of the different parts of Canada. My first choice for leader will be Thomas Mulcair. The fact that he comes from Quebec doesn't affect how I will vote. The fact that Mr. Mulcair understands Quebeckers and other Canadians will affect my vote positively for him.

    While most of the leadership candidates would be able to maintain the traditional support of devout NDP voters, I think that Thomas Mulcair will be the best candidate to reach out to voters who have traditionally voted Conservative. To do that, Mr. Mulcair understands that the NDP needs to change some of its lexicon such as getting rid of the term "ordinary Canadians." I will guess that he will try to make the NDP's perceived weakness on economic issues into strengths and make Stephen Harper's perceived strengths into weaknesses. That is a true skill of a politician. Jean Chrétien would campaign more openly when Liberal supporters wanted to hide him behind the Liberal Party banner. I think that Mr. Mulcair will be able to campaign on his perceived personal and party weaknesses.

    Finally, I do think that Thomas Mulcair could make the NDP into a skilled attack force during Question Period. The MPs will be more focussed by sticking to one important topic instead of asking haphazard questions of little relevance to most Canadians.

    1. hi Skinny Dipper...whatever Mulcair's perceived weaknesses nobody can deny that he is an extraordinary parliamentarian, who will not allow himself to be bullied by the Harperites. I think it will encourage Canadians to see someone give as good or better than he takes.
      As far as the Quebec situation is concerned I truly do believe that he is the only leader who can prevent the Bloc from recovering all those seats it lost to the NDP in the last election.
      And at a time when support for the PQ is rising, that could have very important implications on the national unity front. I know most English Canadians have lost interest in Quebec, but its my home so I haven't. Getting all those Bloc supporters to take a chance on the federalist NDP was a precious part of Jack Layton's legacy,and I don't want to see that lost...

  3. Anonymous9:12 PM

    Mulcair would be a good choice. I think he has the experience and the debating skills for the task. I certainly don't envy him the challenge of how to attract more voters in the West but I'm sure he'd be much better than the current leader.

    1. hi Way Way Up...Mulcair is the best debater in English and French that I have ever seen. When you grow up in a family with ten other siblings you better be a good talker or else... ;)

    2. you are quite right Simon on all your points.
      I put Nathan #1 because I wanted to show that we mean business.STOP HARPER and STOP trashing this planet and GET REAL!!!
      We elected E MAY by co-operating and now Lunn is Done!

  4. Anonymous9:53 PM

    He has my vote

    1. hi anonymous...good for you. If I was an NDP member I'd do the same thing. As Jeffrey Simpson said recently, neither the Cons or the Liberals could have fielded such a classy line-up. I like them all, I just think Mulcair is the best suited to take on Harper at this time...

  5. I don't make any secret of the fact I don't like Mulcair. In fact, the guy I'd prefer to see as NDP leader currently sits as leader of the Liberals. The situation reminds me of the mid 80s where many felt the men who led the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives at the time were effectively in the wrong party. Anglo John Turner was a natural Red Tory and Mulroney was a free-trading, neoliberal from Quebec. There is just something too smooth and arrogant about Mulcair. The label 'classic opportunist' comes easily to mind. I certainly don't like the fact he won't go on any CBC radio or teevee shows and do any interviews. Who does that sound like? I dunno, maybe it's the beard and Hitler haircut. I do know he ended up 5th on my ballot behind Cullen, Nash, Dewar and Topp. Sorry, Simon. We shall agree to disagree ;-)

    1. hi know I respect your opinion, and I think Nathan Cullen has conducted an excellent campaign. As you also know I have spent the last five years calling on the NDP, the Liberals, and the greens to unite. But as I pointed out in my post I honestly believe that only Mulcair can get those seats in Quebec, and without them the NDP will go nowhere. I also pointed out that Mulcair is not as left as I would wish him to be, but since he is the best fighter the NDP has, I want him in the ring with Harper. And yes, I shall cheerfully agree to disagree with you, knowing that you're a good guy, and that history will prove me right...

      P.S. As for the beard, it could be worse eh? He could have a Toews mustache... ;)

  6. "For I totally despise the kind of progressive wankers, who would spend their time counting how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, or defending the "ideological purity" of the party like demented high priests in the Temple of Idiocy. For I totally despise the kind of progressive wankers, who would spend their time counting how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, or defending the "ideological purity" of the party like demented high priests in the Temple of Idiocy. "

    Careful, but you're starting to sound like Bob Rae. There's actually a lot to what you say about electoral realities in Canada and Mulcair's strengths.

    But try to avoid shit like I just quoted. If what you're saying is true, then it's just like Canada has become like the USA where intelligent, progressive, but often deluded voters stick with the Democrats just because the Repugs are so awful.

    "Purity" (as you deride it) means justice for the poor, anti-imperialism, and a whole bunch of other things that keep us from having folded-up shop and joined the Liberal Party. Mulcair appears to support, among other thiings, Israel's abuse of the Palestinians and all the sickening foreign policy and "anti-terror" destructions to civil liberties that that entails.

    Again, you actually make a good case, but try to restrain your enthusiasm on trashing people who might not be able to stomach Mulcair's neoliberalism and other delusions.

    1. hi I told Omar I sometimes get a bit carried away when I write. Especially when I'm in a hurry and somebody is shouting at me hurry up hurry up it's your turn to walk the dog. ;)
      But seriously I'm frustrated with the attitude of some progressives who aren't willing to put aside their petty differences and unite to fight the common enemy. Nowhere have I read that Mulcair is not sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians, and knowing the NDP I doubt any leader would get away with turning that party into the Liberals.
      Because I think he is the best candidate to get those seats back from the Bloc, and the only thing that counts for me is defeating the Harperites, I am willing to give him a chance. If I'm wrong I shall admit it, and you and history will be free to judge me harshly...

  7. Anonymous2:06 PM

    Thomas Mulcair: Israel, Right or Wrong

    “…je suis un ardent supporter de toutes les instances et de toutes les circonstances d’Israël.” [“I am an ardent supporter of Israel in all situations and in all circumstances.”]

    – Thomas Mulcair, quoted in Canadian Jewish News, May 1st, 2008

    1. That little gem could have come straight from Stephen Harper's mouth.

    2. hi anonymous... I am aware of that quote, but I've never heard a Canadian politician say anything different.Which doesn't mean that you can't also be a strong supporter of a Palestinian state, or criticize the Israelis for their never ending occupation and their treatment of the Palestinians.
      And let me also point out that nobody is a more of an unconditional supporter of the Netanyahu settler regime than Harper.So if we don't use our best weapon to defeat him, the situation for the Palestinians and Canadians can only get worse and worse...

  8. True words! Mulcair has what it takes to be a great leader of the NDP. I've voted for him already on-line.

    1. hi Thor...good for you. I noticed Mulcair's picture on your great blog. As you can see it's not easy, but hopefully sanity will prevail...

  9. Mulcair will not fly in BC.

    He will not commit to raising taxes on the rich.

    He supports Isreal.

    He will not cooperate with other parties to defeat Harper.

    I think Mulcair represents an attempt to co-opt the NDP principles with a moneyed campaign driven by supporters of Isreal.

    I will vote for Cullen. Followed by Topp or Nash. If I get my PIN # in time to vote.

  10. Anonymous8:15 PM

    Good post as always Simon.

    If Mulcair can chomp Harper up, and spit him out in little pieces, he's for me. No-one can afford to be a gentleman around Harper, he has more dirty tactics than a pole-cat. Just ask Gordon Campbell. The two of them wrote the book on dirty tactics.

    I am so pleased....Quebec told Harper to go to hell, on his asinine crime bill.

  11. Anonymous8:57 AM

    Muclair's wife who campaigns with him ran for Sarkovy's right wing racist party in France.
    Mulcair supports NAFTA that has de-industrialize Canada
    Muclairs unconditional support for Israel is unacceptable

  12. Tom Mulcair claims pot is "so potent as to cause mental illness" as his reason for opposing decriminalization? WHAT? Ok, that does it. If this fool actually harbours those idiotic kind of views I wouldn't vote for him if he descended to Earth directly from the planet Socialism on a winged hammer and sickle! I'm convinced now more then ever this man shouldn't lead Canada's progressive political voice. Quebec is just going to have to make do with someone else at the NDP helm.

    1. Mulcair is very much like Harper when it comes to foreign and economic policy. I thought of him as the lesser of two evils but when I heard this statement about pot, I thought he might be more conservative on other issues than anyone assumed. Sheesh, what if he's actually luke warm on reproductive rights and SSM. We all assumed that all the candidates were on the progressive side of the ledger on many of these issues.

      I think the people of Quebec will vote for the party with the most progressive platform. And if Mulcair's platform becomes more centrist than the LPC, Quebec votes might go back to the Bloc.

      I'm throwing my support behind Cullen. I think he has energy, charm and momentum. And he can appeal to the centre without sacrificing too much. (I like Nash and Topp too but they may be perceived too old school.)

    2. thomas muclairs nomination will alienate the progressive vote in the next canadian election in much the same manner that four years of obama's foriegn policy mirroring bush's will alienate progressives in the next u.s. election.

      you may think your pragmatism trumps values but that strategy only works on the party prone to lockstepping. if the ndp wanted progresslite they'ld already be liberals.

      good luck with your big picture.

  13. e.a.f.7:28 PM

    I am disappointed Broadbent made the statements he did. He should have remained neutral. It would have been more in keeping with a senior party statesperson.

    At this time I think the NDP needs to go with whomever has the best chance of defeating Harper & his cons. I think Mulcair has the best chance of doing that. Topp maybe a good candidate but he has little or no experience of up on his feet & going at it in a legislature/house of commons & that is what we need right now. Some of the candidates who are currently running can run for the leadership in the future. Mulcair isn't my first choice but I know he is the best choice for the party right now & for the forseeable future. What the NDP need right now is someone who can keep the gains the party has in Quebec & bring more gains from other parts of Canada. The party also needs a pit bull. The party would be wise to vote for Mulcair.

    although some feel Peggy Nash would be a good choice & she maybe she is too closely aliegned with labour to pick up the necessary votes to become government.

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