By JEFF BOMBEN
New NDP leader Thomas Mulcair needs to embrace the lessons of former leader Jack Layton to ensure his party stays strong.
Mulcair was elected as the new leader on March 24 and had worked with Layton since 2007 after being named deputy leader of the party along with Libby Davies. He was re-elected two more times as a member of parliament for Outremont in Quebec in 2008 and 2011 before taking on his new role with the party.
“He has my entire support,” Brian Topp said to the media after battling him for the spot as leader of the party.
Mulcair walked into a great situation as the new leader. The NDP still have a lot of momentum after winning 103 seats in the past federal election. The party did many things right, including embracing the student vote.
With the Quebec-born Mulcair serving as leader, the NDP should have no problem gathering voters in the province. Quebec ended up being a major turning point in the election, with the Liberals and the Quebecois losing a large number of seats to the NDP.
As they continue to serve as the official opposition in Canada, Mulcair should take a look back at what Layton did to bring the NDP to the forefront of Canadian politics. Layton was a passionate leader who knew where to pick his battles.
Mulcair needs to come out flying and prove himself.
Shortly after he took on his new duties, Prime Minster Stephen Harper’s Conservative party released advertisements attacking Liberal leader, Bob Rae. This move by the Conservatives indicates they think Rae will be their main threat when the next election is called, and not Mulcair.
The ball is now in Mulcair’s court. By the Conservatives attacking Rae and the Liberals instead of him, it shows that Harper doesn’t feel threatened by Mulcair. In order for Mulcair to be successful, he needs to establish a plan to prove to the country that the NDP can lead the government successfully.
Whether he tries to attack the Conservative party which has dominated the federal landscape or he takes a shot at the Liberals who tried to revamp their leadership after a disappointing election, Mulcair needs to come out strong and keep the NDP front and centre.
The views herein represent the position of the newspaper, not necessarily the author.