Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The NDP's Biggest Asset May be Their Biggest Liability

I watched the Macleans leadership debates again on Youtube, and noticed a few things that I hadn't picked up on when watching it live. 

For one thing, Thomas Mulcair was the only one of the four to have to use a script, when delivering his closing remarks.  We saw one awkward moment when he had to turn the page and forgot where he was.

He did get some very good points across during the debate, and was even able to trick Harper into admitting that we were in a recession.  But overall, his performance was weak, especially since everyone thought that this would be his moment to shine.

Whenever Stephen Harper was going to tell a lie, he started with "let me be clear".  For Mulcair, he did something weird with his eyes.  I'm not going to suggest that Mulcair is a bigger liar than Harper, but since being named NDP leader, he has certainly been playing fast and loose with the facts.

While on the campaign trail, he is constantly mentioning his environmental record, when he was in Quebec, and brought it up again during the debates.

He isn't lying about two things:  He was the Quebec environment minister from 2003 until early 2006, when he was removed from the post; and he did entrench the right to a clean environment, into the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms (more on that later).

Anything beyond that is revisionist history.

I am actually going to post Mulcair's environmental record in four parts, because there are two many important points to make, so that Canadians learn the facts about his tenure.  What they will show is a neoliberal, intent on privatization, who actually did more harm than good, in the quest to reduce GHG emissions.

He cut payments going to climate change groups, from 2.2 million to 750,000 and even stepped in, to stop a grant going to one group, simply because they had a few separatists on their team.  More than once, environmentalists demanded his resignation, and again and again he embarrassed his own government with his pseudo-science.

He was a lawyer and politician.  He was not an environmentalist.

So Why Did the NDP Choose Mulcair?

John Ibbitson explains it in a piece:  NDP sheds 'comfy sweaters' for battle gear
Make no mistake about the importance of what happened in Toronto last weekend: Tens of thousands of New Democrats rebelled against the party establishment – a cabal of union leaders, academics, journalists and party apparatchiks – to elect an outsider.  
They did it, in the words of one NDP supporter who was at the convention, because they no longer wanted to be led by “a comfy sweater.” 
They no longer wanted to be the party of ideals.  They just wanted to win.  But how will they square that with the "union leaders, academics, journalists and party apparatchiks", who built the NDP?
Will simply winning be enough, if it means tying Mulcair's right-wing, neoliberal platform, to the party of greats like Tommy Douglas and David Lewis?  Will winning be enough if the New Democratic Party simply disappears, as the party with a social conscience?
Maybe it wasn't just the fact that they saw Mulcair as a scrapper, but they may have also wanted to tap into his vast corporate connections.  They could live with tax cuts for the wealthy and child care benefits going to millionaires, if they just had a shot.
I think that they will live to regret this decision, because the person they saw as a clear path to victory, may instead, run the party off the road.  


  1. Let's face it Emily you would never support an NDP candidate just admit it and move on make your biases known and we will read your columns accordingly.

  2. Wow, you really hate Tom Mulcair.

  3. I used to be accused of hating Stephen Harper by Conservative supporters. I didn't hate him, I hated his politics and his plans for our country. I don't hate Mulcair but the Mulcair being shown to the public is not the same as the pre-NDP Mulcair. My many sources show that.

    1. And why should it he is the NDP now, we see what the NDP is going to be not the pre NDP. Be real check out the present. People are entitled to change their minds and positions judge them on the present not the past.