Tuesday, June 30, 2015
In Frank and Passionate Defence of Thomas Mulcair
Well I've defended Justin Trudeau a lot recently, in three of my last six posts.
When she was attacked, I defended Elizabeth May.
And now it seems I must defend Tom Mulcair.
From a story that suggests that he is really a closeted Harper Con.
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair was in discussions in 2007 to join the Conservative party as a senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, discussions that several sources, including former senior Harper staffers, say was the first step in securing Mulcair to run as a Conservative candidate in 2008.
Which couldn't be more ridiculous. Starting with the fact that this story has been extensively covered before, starting in 2007. So it's a very old story.
And the only new allegation comes from Dimitri Soudas.
“All had been agreed upon. He would be a senior adviser to the Prime Minister on the Environment, and would run for us in the next election. Everything was pretty much agreed to,” Soudas said Monday. The Prime Minister was briefed on these negotiations, Soudas adds.
The sticking point, Soudas says, was salary. Soudas says he was authorized to go up to $180,000 a year without getting prior authorization from Harper. “He told me he wanted $300,000 a year and that was his bottom line and, basically, I got back to him, saying I couldn’t go higher that $180,000, and I never heard back from him ever again.
Which for obvious reasons must be taken with a pinch of salt.
Or an apple...
For who would you rather believe Soudas the former Harper stooge, or Mulcair?
Mulcair denies negotiating with Soudas. “I absolutely never spoke with Mr. Soudas at the time,” he says. “I had no intention of running for the Conservatives. “
"At the time, I was also weighing a substantial offer from a top law firm to join their environment section that was well beyond anything available in public service or with a party. More to the point, though, money was never the issue, because I was still interested in serving my fellow citizens.”
How likely is it that a man seeking to become an environmental adviser to the Con government, would ask to be paid like a Prime Minister?
After he had just given up a lucrative job with the Quebec Liberals over a matter of principle, and would shortly after that meeting choose to run for a party that had no MPs in Quebec, and in what was probably the strongest Liberal riding.
And since he became NDP leader has consistently been Stephen Harper's most ferocious adversary...
I mean with friends like that who needs enemies?
But of course we know why this old story has been dragged out now. For the simple reason that Mulcair is now the greatest threat to the Harper Cons.
After focusing their attacks on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau since he took over the party in 2013, the Conservatives may need to start worrying about the NDP's Thomas Mulcair. Because according to the latest polls, if an election were held today, the New Democrats would probably win.
ThreeHundredEight.com's latest weighted averages show the NDP in the lead in national voting intentions with 32 per cent support, up nine points in only two months since the party's stunning provincial victory in Alberta. The Conservatives have dropped three points since then, falling to second place with 29 per cent support. The Liberals have shed four points over that time, sliding to 27 per cent.
And somebody is panicking...
And the good news? If the Cons and their depraved leader, think they can drag down Mulcair in such a manner they are sadly mistaken.
For they will only do themselves more damage. The Cons will look even more sleazy.
And since Dimitri Soudas is now working for the Liberals, if he was responsible for this smear against Mulcair, they won't look good either.
Which is too bad, because we should all be working together to defeat Stephen Harper before he destroys this country.
And the thought that we're not fills me with despair, and makes me feel for the first time ever like I should give up blogging. For the last thing I want to do is wade through a partisan swamp.
But that's for later, for now I'll only say this.
If you are a progressive focus on the real enemy.
And may our tide keep rising until it swamps the tyrant...
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RE: And the only new allegation comes from Dimitri Soudas.
According to the MacLean's article, the new allegation did not come from Soudas... but he did confirm it on the record.
"Maclean’s first heard of Mulcair’s negotiations with the PMO several months ago, but was only able to confirm the details recently. Neither the government, the Conservative party nor Soudas approached Maclean’s about Mulcair’s negotiations."
But when Soudas was approached by MacLean's, he did confirm the story.
It's a subtle nuance...
And this new story needs to be put in the context of the ones that came out a few years ago.
It would appear that Mulcair FIRST wanted to be a Harper Cabinet Minister
(from 2012: http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/john-ivison-mulcair-asked-for-conservative-cabinet-post-before-joining-ndp-tory-insider)
But a Cabinet position was a non-starter.
The Senior Adviser to the PM on the Environment position was the HarperCons' counter-offer.
It actually isn't that far-fetched that Tom could be a closet Conservative.
After all, his former PLQ boss was Jean Charest (also a Conservative).
RE: "For who would you rather believe Soudas the former Harper stooge, or Mulcair?"
Normally a very good question.
Soudas is loathsome.
But in all fairness, Mulcair has some credibility issues of his own.
After all, a judge didn't find Tom guilty of defamation because Tom always tells the truth about his own political opponents.
Now, I'm not saying this to be a progressive who is trying to take another progressive down... but we must look critically at all our options... and there is plenty on the table for us to not simply take Tom's word for it wholesale simply because he is not Soudas.
In this particular case, Tom says it was the CPC's Kyoto position that stopped him from joining, but the CPC's position on Kyoto was well known before 2007. My spidey senses tell me while that may have been part of the reason Tom declined, it likely isn't the only reason (and probably not even the most important one).
My take on it is that both of them are not being fulsome with the Truth on this.
I did have to laugh about the suggestion Mulcair was allegedly recruited to work for the federal Cons. Well if that is true why are the Cons so upset with the thought of him being P.M. The allegations as I understand them, they wanted to hire him and have him run later to become a Cabinet Minister. Well the guy could be said to be ambitious and wanted the top job, but really, again, if he was good enough to hire or run, why isn't he good enough to go as P.M. with another party.
it doesn't really matter whether its true or not. Its what Mulcair is doing today. Everyone goes through career transitions. We have only to look at B.C., where former N.D.P. Premier, Glen Clark, when he left politics was hired by Jimmy Patison and today is the President of the Pattison Group. For those of you in the East who may not be familiar with the Jimmy Patison. He's a guy from the East side of Vancouver who made good, owns a lot of companies here and in the U.S.A., and is worth a few billion dollars.
skills can be moved from one job to another. You'd think the Cons would be thrilled that some one they once wanted as part of their group just might become P.M. of Canada. Its not like they tried to hire Trudeau or Elizabeth May.
More dirty tricks from the dirty Liberal tricksters. They are scared shitless that the "Anyone But Conservative" strategic vote will go to he NDP instead of the Liberals. Expect more of this kind of sleaze from the entitled, self-proclaimed "natural governing party" who can't campaign on policies or principles because they don't really have any. Remember, it was the Liberals who first took the story about Jack Layton being in a massage parlour to the media.
It is a much shorter jump from the Provincial Liberals in Quebec to the Conservative Party than it is from to the Federal NDP. I never bought Mulcair's story that he was involved with the Quebec Liberal Party because it was the only federalist party that was really an option for him. For me, one gets involved in politics because of principle and this story resounds of plain opportunism. In style terms Mulcair has always been a Tory and I have largely abandoned the NDP since he became the leader. (To say nothing of the Tory-Style of Ann McGrath!) It makes total sense that Mulcair would have entertained the possibility of joining the CONvict party. But, so what, this is an old story and doesn't tell me anything I didn't already know about Mulcair. However, the resurfacing of this story will probably help Mulcair. More and more people are jumping ship from the Tories to the NDP because those Tories have lost faith in Harper and can't bring themselves to vote Liberal (particularly under Trudeau). They like Mulcair because they perceive him to be a serious politician much in the mold of Harper himself. For many Tories this story will only confirm that perception.
One way to obtain a measure of the trustworthiness of a politician is to project forward several years after they have left politics. I can easily visualize Stevie living in a protected secure community with some sot of lobbyist income. No presence in public places where terrorists might attack and no affiliation with anything remotely related to improving society. Mulcair I can see as middle class Canadian still devoting time to a cause whether it be poverty, environmental, local issues, etc. Perhaps I am wrong but have watched so many politicians over the years lead the public down a snake oil path that they obviously had no real commitment to once they left power. Although to be fair I guess Stevie never claimed he was out to improve the life of the average Canadian aside from creating tax cuts with borrowed money. It was all about promoting divisive issues and pitting one Canadian against the other, that I can see him continuing to do one his political days are done but it likely to be a lonely place. Hopefully his community will be gated and he will get free board and a uniform.
Just more proof that Stephen Harper will use Bill C-51 and other tools to collect similar BS stories on every Canadian, particularly if they oppose his garbage politics. This will backfire on the Cons because (a) it proves they can't be trusted with anything, including personal discussions about who they work with or want to work with and (b) Mulcair gets to say he walked away from them and there's nothing he could pay him to turn his back on solid, respectable Canadian politics.
For a panel discussion on Mulcair being in discussions in 2007 to join the Conservative party,
go to 37 minute mark:
Mulcair was such an opportunist that he considered the Conservative job offer, as an environmental advisor, didn't agree with the Conservative position on Kyoto, walked away, and instead ran as an NDP candidate in a byelection in Quebec, in a liberal stronghold. Now that is principle and dedication to service.
Nothing screams MONEY and POWER like joining the NDP in Quebec in 2007.
This article is marked by the Liberal smear machine.
hi Eager Beaver...look I just find the whole idea of revisiting an eight-year-old story for the purpose of trying to smear the leader of a progressive party absolutely appalling. And I'm afraid I can't believe that it didn't come from Dimitri Soudas. It's just a distraction from the real battle, which is the one to bring down the Harper Cons...
hi e.a.f... that's a good point, which if I hadn't been so depressed by the whole thing, I should have noted myself. Because when you strip it down it can be used against the Cons. If they didn't think he was such a good candidate why did they try to recruit him. I guess the cold wet summer we're having out east is getting me down...
hi anon....I hope you are wrong, but I'm afraid it does look like the Liberals may have at least taken this story further than it should have gone. I'm very disappointed because I have never been partisan myself, and all I want is for progressives to unite and take the Cons off our backs. I didn't know that the Liberals were responsible for the massage parlour story. Honestly, what has happened to this country? How low have we fallen?
hi Kirby...I had a chance to see Mulcair in action in the National Assembly before most Canadians in other provinces had even heard of him. And he was a ferocious enemy of the separatists. So I wouldn't take that away from. And while he's not as as left as I would like him to be, neither is this country. Under him the NDP has moved in a slightly;y rightward direction. But I'm afraid that's what had to be done if the NDP is ever going to win an election, instead of being a perpetual protest party. I doubt this story will hurt him because he was a free agent at the time and all the federalist parties were trying to recruit him. If the Cons tried to do that they clearly must have seen something in him, so that could take the wind out of their claims that he's not fit to govern, But as you know, all I care about is defeating the Harper Cons, nothing matters more to me than that. I've given up all my other dreams for that one, but it will be enough...
hi anon...I'm sure you're right, I can't see Harper turning his retirement years into anything noble or decent. And Mulcair is definitely a better human being than he is. What Harper has done to this country can never be forgotten or forgiven...
hi anon...yes that is what the NDP should say. I should have thought of it myself. They tried to offer him a job and he just walked away from them. As I pointed out in my post, Mulcair gave up a very comfortable seat in the National Assembly over a matter of principle, and how many politicians have you ever seen do that? So trying to make him look like an unprincipled greedster doesn't seem right...
hi jan...yes you're right, deciding to run for the NDP in Quebec at that time didn't exactly scream money and power. Especially in a riding like Outremont. He deserves credit for that, and this crass attempt to smear him really is disgusting...
Before the Orange Wave, if you would have been an NDP supporter in any of the other provinces you voted Liberal in La belle province, as I did for years. If you wanted to be in provincial politics, other than being a sacrificial lamb, you would have joined Libs. Québec politics are not like any other.
Simon, I don't often disagree with anything you write. As a matter of fact, in the 10 years I've been following you I cannot think of one instance where I've disagreed with any position you've taken. But on this Thomas Mulcair thing we part ways. If it were *any* other political entity other than the Harperites I could perhaps be willing to cut Mulcair some slack, but not over this. He was interested and willing to join them? These neo-liberal shitbags who are a mirror image of the Republican party to our south? This I cannot abide. You know, I began to start losing it for Mulcair over his over-the-top rhetoric regarding Senate abolition. Why? Not because I am fervently enamored with the Senate, but because I see Mulcair using it as a wedge issue to garner votes. Just like Harper did. Anyway, I could go on and on for why I have shifted my vote toward the Liberals, but I'll leave it at that other than to say Tom Mulcair didn't have my support at convention and he certainly doesn't have it now.
Thanks so much for writing back. :-)
I hear you!
Loud and clear.
Yes, the motives for reviving an eight-year-old story are clearly base and transparent, but:
1. Does that necessarily makes the newest facts revealed untrue or irrelevant?
2. Did we get the full story eight years ago?
After all, when it comes to Tom, the "envelope" story was also many years old when it resurfaced and we STILL don't have all the facts.
For example: Tom still NEVER has told us what he thought could have been in that envelope that was both so bad the he had to bolt from the room (so fast that he allegedly didn't even take the time to look inside it) but yet not bad enough to report it to the police.
Now, I'm not a lawyer like Tom, but I suspect is rather limited the number of things on a list that could match both criteria.
RE: "And I'm afraid I can't believe that it didn't come from Dimitri Soudas."
I don't know how good Paul Well's reputation is, but that is what the author of the article claims.
Is he, in your opinion, typically forthright? (I figure you might know better than I)
That said, even if Wells is on the up and up... Soudas is sneaky, resourceful, and underhanded enough to manage to get a source to talk to Wells on his behalf; I certainly wouldn't put it past him to have had a message "delivered".
You are not unwise to doubt.
Most likely it is a distraction, but let us not let our desire to bring down the Harper Cons allow us to make the critical mistake of glossing over potential character flaws in Mulcair simply because polls indicate, at this specific point in time, that he might be our best hope. After all, that's what Canadians did with regard to Harper in order to finally spank the Liberals post-ADScam... and look how that worked out (cringe).
Mulcair does have a track record of his own and when it is subjected to scrutiny, there are some big question marks there.
Some scratching at the surface paint is warranted.
I'm with you that any "smear" information against progressives coming from the regressives in this campaign should be taken with a salt lick -- Harper being PM and CPC track record oblige -- and that they are always in bad taste.
But that doesn't mean they are without foundation.
PS: Butt-kissing moment -- I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! I'm a huge fan!
I think that they thought he was too good a candidate.
That is most likely why it is they didn't want him in Cabinet and offered him a backroom Senior Adviser position.
(RE: Well if that is true why are the Cons so upset with the thought of him being P.M.)
After all, there is no room for ambitious climbers in a Harper government. No man, such as Harper, who wants to be PM for Life would allow such a person to get anywhere near the seat of power.
RE: I'm very disappointed because I have never been partisan myself, and all I want is for progressives to unite and take the Cons off our backs.
But Tom may have shot any chance of that all to Hell when he over reached during the sexual misconduct scandal involving 2 LPC MPs and accused Justin of being a "re-victimizer" of women.
The loathing between Tom and Justin since then is almost as palpable as that which exists between Harper and Trudeau.
As much as we want unity, I have a feeling that so far, only the seeds of discord have been sown.
Hi Simon and anon...
In the article below the issue of the source is addressed directly.
' Maclean's wasn't giving away its sources, other than Soudas. It did say who they weren't: "Neither the government, the Conservative Party, nor Soudas approached Maclean's about Mulcair's negotiations."
That disclaimer still leaves a lot of likely suspects, including another political party in Quebec that would like to undermine the NDP. '
If this is to be believed, then Soudas didn't approach MacLean's but rather it was he who was approached by MacLean's to confirm the story, which he did.
And he did it on the record with attribution, which opens him up to a lawsuit if he is not telling the truth (with full knowledge that Tom is a lawyer).
I forgot to factor in the possibility of a Bloc strategy.
It IS also in the best interest of the Bloc to disrupt potential LPC/NDP cooperation...
Is it generally agreed that the ads being run against Trudeau, in particular the ones that use ISIS video shots, are outrageous and should be condemned? Is Harper right to call Trudeau soft on terror because he does not support the bombing mission?
If so, since Mulcair shares these views with Trudeau, should he be saying something? Because he is awfully quiet...
My point is that this is politics - and to condemn the LPC for trying to win when the NDP is doing the same is kind of hypocritical. Mulcair benefits from these sleazy attack ads just as much as Harper does. It is sad that he does not join Trudeau in condemning them.
I think there is another way to look at this.
If you want power, you are not going to find it as a CPC Cabinet minister in a Harper government. Harper controls the show.
In 2007, you are not going to go to the LPC, who were running on fumes from 2005 to 2013.
It was a risk to run for the NDP to be sure, but a calculated one. First, if he won the by-election (and let us remember that one of the reasons he won was that the conservatives were encouraging their voters to vote for him), he would be the first and only NDP MP from Quebec. That would automatically put him in a position of power with the NDP. Second, and I give Mulcair full credit for this, but he must have known he had a lot of sway in Quebec and could bring the NDP a lot of votes. This would give him more power within the party and a clear path to the leadership.
So, in fact, if you want power, and you want it on your own terms, the safest bet for Thomas Mulcair in 2007 was to run for the NDP.
I had no use for Harper or the Cons but you have to consider back in 2007 Harper still looked almost human. Not great but not he did not seem anywhere near the monster he has become. He still realized that he had to look vaguely accommodating and not a flesh-eating zombie (my appologies to any zombies reading this blob
Actually one could argue (taking Mulcair at his word) that he turned down the job because he did not like their philosophy/policies in the environmental area. Come to think of given Harper's outstanding record on the environment it makes Mulcair look prescient.
I have not been listening much to any party at the moment and Mulcair may well be over-the-top but it is an excellent wedge issue and it is a good one from the NDP's point-of-view since it is a long-standing policy of the NDP. No sudden deathbed conversion to Senate abolition. They can point to the idea with a told-you-so smile.
That is one policy I have always disagreed with. I am even in favour of an appointed Senate just one with a better appointment process. I have always thought a bicameral system made a lot of sense if done properly
If you think Mulcair has the style of the Harper Cons for being "serious", how is it that Trudeau ended up with Dimitri Soudas on his campaign team? Is Trudeau trying to make himself look more serious with this move? Don't think it worked.
I don't believe that any politician is in it on principle. They are all narcissists, IMO. Notice how Trudeau went from left-wing to right-wing on economic issues after getting elected leader? That doesn't sound like principled to me.
I love the Liberal line: a vote for the NDP is a "protest" vote. Like the Liberals are entitled to your vote! Or that a vote for the NDP is a vote for the neo-con party.
Maybe instead of weaseling votes the Liberals should try earning people's votes and then not betray them after getting elected. Too much to ask for?
(When Trudeau says he will legalize cannabis, he really means he will privatize Canada Post!)
So let me get this straight:
Eight years ago the National Post published a story about Mulcair turning down a job offer to advise the Harper government. Mulcair acknowledged this at that time.
The Liberals have revived this story and added information sourced by Dimitri Soudas who functioned as Harper's Press Secretary, Harper's Director of Communications, and Chief Spokesman of the Conservative Party of Canada, who we are supposed to now view as a credible source of information even though he was instrumental in every smear campaign against the Liberals Harper ran.
To summarize, the Liberals, who just voted with the Tories on a Charter-crushing bill (C51) universally condemned by constitutional experts, are claiming Mulcair is in bed with the Tories, even though he turned the job down. EIGHT YEARS AGO.
And here is why the Liberals who agree with the Tories on C51 and FIPA are collaborating with an Tory smear artist to attack the opposition they are supposed to have more in common with.
If the Liberals want to get ahead they should distinguish themselves from the Tories, not align with the Tories on important policy. The NDP isn't the one in bed with the Tories.
hi Gayle...both progressive parties have engaged in partisan attacks, and while I understand they may be inevitable, I have to say that I hate them. I have always tried to bring progressives together with the hope of uniting them one day. Which I should add isn't easy, because when I state that position to some of my partisan friends, they stop attacking each other and start attacking me !!! ;)
hi Eager Beaver...I'm not going to debate the merits of the case because although Trudeau and Mulcair may have their minor flaws, they are nothing compared to the flaws of our monstrous dictator and his foul regime. And bringing that regime down is all I care about. The irony of course is that they will almost certainly have to work together in a coalition government so they will have to learn to be nice or nicer to each other. And of course I'll just LOVE that sight, and laugh my you know what off. And thank you for your kind words about this humble blog. As you can see sometimes I get discouraged, but I always do my best to cheer up and encourage other progressives....
hi Omar...well I completely respect your point of view, and of course I am not infallible. Just ds of some of my friends on't spread that around. I have trouble dealing with the strong partisan views of some of my friends and readers. I think it's just a reflection of the kind of person I am. I consider all progressives whatever their minor flaws to be better than the Cons. And I am so desperate to defeat them...
hi MyPetGloat...I think you've summarized the situation well. As I've explained to the others I don't take sides in partisan arguments for the simple reason that I hope to be able to help to bring progressives together one day. It's a hell of a job, and I get beaten up by both sides all the time for sticking stubbornly to that position. But SOMEBODY has to do it... ;)
I appreciate that, Simon. I didn't think you'd go all ape-shit on me like several NDP partisans did on Twitter when I voiced similar concerns about Mulcair. There I was "spewing" Liberal talking points, etc, etc. One twat even compared me to Ezra Levant for having my opinions. The NDP has no hope in my riding, but I had planned on voting my conscience for them anyway, but not now. To the best of my knowledge Justin Trudeau, for all his perceived faults, never attempted to work and then run for Harper's team. That alone goes a long way with me. Cheers.
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