Last weekend, Tom Mulcair sat down with Paul Wells for Maclean’s magazine to discuss how he just can’t wait to be king. Now I know 25% of Canadians are thinking “who the F*#@ is Tom Mulcair?” and another 40% of Canadians really don’t like the guy, despite his best efforts to get himself known and liked. Regardless, Tom Mulcair believes the NDP, the Official Opposition, will form the next government. Brian Doughtery, president of the NDP Riding Association for Renfrew Nipissing Pembroke touted the same sentiment. When Wells asked what the NDP would do in the event of a minority government, Mulcair dismissed any chance of a Liberal or Conservative minority, and said, “the NDP is going to form the government because we’ll have the largest number of seats.”
This is a rather arrogant statement, and not one typical of past NDP Leaders who actually led their party in an election. Arrogance worked so well for previous leaders of the Liberal Party; Canadians love a smug politician! And it’s not like he was ever the member of a party with a radically different platform (say, a certain right wing provincial party in Quebec), or a Minister in the cabinet of one of the most corrupt governments of Canadian History…
The fearless opposition leader said he wouldn’t refocus his attacks from Stephen Harper to Justin Trudeau as Michael Ignatief had done in the last stages of the 2011 election campaign. In a paragraph that tried to emulate—but fell far short of—Winston Churchill’s most famous speech, the old warhorse promised that the NDP would fight hard as they always have. What they would be fighting with is workers’ rights and better wages to ensure that families can survive in the current economy. As Mulcair spun it, no one else was fighting for those issues. Perhaps no one told him to read the platform of any of the other parties. Maybe he was just struggling to remember all the ins and outs of the party’s rather fluid policy promises since his election.
His time isn’t spent reading the Canadian constitution—Mulcair said Constitutional change isn’t necessary to meet Quebec’s demands! His former cabinet colleague Philippe Couillard (who happens to be the one writing the demands of Quebec) has some very different ideas. Mulcair decries the Chretien government for abolishing the mandatory minimum wage, even though the Constitution recognizes that Labour legislation, including wage legislation, rests with the provinces anyway and the Chretien government simply mandated that federal workers receive the minimum wage for the province they work in. But these are mere details, even if they seem strikingly familiar to unfounded political attacks!
The long and short of the NDP platform from the mouth of Mulcair is that 1) they’re not the Liberals, and 2) they will undo just about everything Stephen Harper has done (Post Office changes, Veteran Affairs cuts, and the retirement age increase from 65 to 67). Of course, the NDP is facing a formidable adversary in Justin Trudeau, who seems to be on a mission to kiss every baby in Canada (and people like him because of it). Mulcair might be the best leader of the Opposition since Diefenbaker (who is ironically Harper’s idol), but Diefenbaker proved himself to be an indecisive, slow moving leader whose greatest achievements did agonizingly little for Canada, and whose approach to foreign and domestic policy alienated Canadians, Britons, and Americans! Even though he supposedly loved all three!
Well, Mulcair can dream and maybe his dreams will come true. One thing is certain, Jack Layton dreamed of being Prime Minister and Canadians almost gave him that chance. Whether they will do the same for Mulcair remains to be seen.