Saturday, September 03, 2011

And on the 7th day, Mulcair gave media interviews

Thomas Mulcair has broken his silence and made it clear he will not run for his party's leadership, unless they select a timeline to his liking:

OTTAWA — Thomas Mulcair says he won't run for the leadership of the NDP unless the party agrees to hold its convention in late winter or early spring, because he wouldn't be able to compete in a short race.

"If what some people seemed to be angling for, which was January, if that ever came to pass, you know, I'd just continue working very hard to do the best we could, but I would never be part of something where there wouldn't be a level playing field," he said Friday.


This would be a huge blow to the NDP, given how popular Mulcair is in caucus. Why, just listen to some of the things NDP MPs have said about him:

“I’ve got great, great support among the Quebec caucus. I’m thankful for that, but not totally surprised because they know what role I played in helping them all get elected.”
-Thomas Mulcair

“Jack named me parliamentary House Leader [last May], and it was quite a compliment for the work that we had done.”
-Thomas Mulcair

“The fact of the matter is that if I hadn’t pushed hard and gotten things changed, we would still have never elected anybody in a general election in Quebec.”
-Thomas Mulcair

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12 Comments:

  • 30,000 NDP members in BC

    1,800 NDP members in Quebec.

    By Blogger Fred, at 6:46 PM  

  • Off topic but ....

    Liberals better hope that the NDP does NOT ditch the 25% leadership vote share it reserves for unions. Being in Big Labour's hip pocket is an effective stick to beat the NDP up with. Without that, it becomes that much harder for Liberals to differentiate themselves from the NDP. And since the NDP is (at least for now) the top dog of the opposition parties, such differentiation is crucial, IMO.

    By Anonymous Jim R, at 10:38 PM  

  • Jim R is perfectly correct. I mean, it's pretty absurd given that it's been a long time since labour was "big", and most people would be better off if it was a lot bigger. But it is nonetheless, due to the punditocracy's pretzel logic, a stick to beat the NDP with.

    By Blogger Purple library guy, at 1:42 PM  

  • The public sector unions are indeed big and, I believe, make up a significant majority of the total unionized workforce. And since a hypothetical NDP federal government would be involved with bargaining with these unions, it doesn't really take pretzel logic to see a conflict of interest if these unions were largely responsible for the hypothetical NDP prime minister being where he or she is.

    I don't think Canadians would be terribly impressed if the Conservatives reserved a 25% share of votes for chambers of commerce, banks, oil companies, telecoms, etc. Canadians would assume that any Conservative leader would be beholden to these special interests. Why should it be different for the NDP?

    By Anonymous Jim R, at 10:53 PM  

  • On an informal level, the Conservatives reserve a 100% share of votes for chambers of commerce, banks, oil companies, telecoms, etc. so I'm not sure how different a 25% official vote would make things.

    But of course the NDP is "beholden" to unions. Been deeply involved with them since its founding. The pretzel logic is the notion that there's anything wrong with that. The difference is that unions represent working people. Most working people who don't have a union, would be better off with one; i.e., they would gain advantage from having a party running the joint which did things like pass legislation that made union organizing easier, or strengthened the right to strike, or whatnot. Indeed, despite all the propaganda about unions, polls generally show a majority of non-unionized workers actually do wish they had union representation.

    Conservatives want to pretend they *aren't* working for, for instance, bankers because bankers genuinely are a special interest, one whose objectives make the lives of the average person worse. But if all the people whose lives would be improved by a strengthening of the Canadian union movement were to vote NDP, the NDP would be at the head of a majority government.

    By Blogger Purple library guy, at 2:42 AM  

  • I'm mistrustful of unions mainly because I believe they're in it to demand more for THEIR MEMBERS ONLY, and not for the working people in general. I see little evidence they care much for workers who don't belong to their membership.

    Still, I certainly support better conditions for the workers (of the world, not just 'here'), and using support for unions as a "stick to beat the NDP with" may be sound partisan advice for a sick political environment, but I don't see it as any more than pointless partisan game-playing designed for poll maneuvering, and intended for nothing that is actually productive or creative for the populace.

    And if it's designed for partisan purposes, and not the benefit of the population, then it's wasteful, counterproductive, and serves party backroom staffers, not the people.

    By Anonymous jacques Beau Verte, at 2:04 PM  

  • @jacques: It's interesting you find that about unions, because my experience was the exact opposite.

    When I was in a union, I felt it was there so we could get a fair contract and working conditions from management. It annoyed me when the union would go on about solidarity with the labour movement or political positions, because I felt like I could make my own political stances. I didn't pay union dues so union reps could navel-graze about (inter)national issues.

    By Anonymous Daniel, at 3:26 PM  

  • "On an informal level, the Conservatives reserve a 100% share of votes for chambers of commerce, banks, oil companies, telecoms, etc. so I'm not sure how different a 25% official vote would make things."

    How exactly does this informal 100% share reserve work? The rank and file Conservative members are the ones who elect the leader, not Big Business. In fact, given that corporations are banned from making political contributions (thus they have no financial leverage), and given that corporations do NOT get any type of vote whatsoever, the *most* Big Business can do is let it be known who their preferred candidate is. Conservative members are then free to take this into consideration, or totally disregard it. This is in stark contrast to an official set aside of 25% of the vote.

    I really see no difference between business and labour w.r.t. motivation. In both cases, they act out of self-interest. Businesses try to maximize profits as much as possible. Labour unions try to maximize pay and benefits for their members as much as possible. These are their primary goals and anything else is secondary to these goals. This is to be expected and works fine in the private sector, as far as I am concerned. However, it breaks down in the public sector where a) the employer cannot go bankrupt due to an inability or unwillingness to control costs, and, b) customers must still pay for services they aren't receiving when a strike or lockout is in effect. So, in the public sector, the usual market and economic forces that would normally result in both sides coming to a mutual agreement are significantly muted, if not altogether absent.

    The result of this is public sector wage and benefits gains that noticeably exceed what people doing equivalent work in the private sector see, or back-to-work legislation being enacted after a strike has resulted in an interruption of often vital services. Neither outcome is particularly desirable. Which is why I favour binding arbitration for public sector negotiations that come to an impasse. Neither governments nor public sector unions would like this as it results in a loss of power, but it does put the people who pay for and receive government services first, which is as it should be.

    By Anonymous Jim R, at 8:35 PM  

  • The TTC doesn't care about underpaid immigrant labor on farms or anyone at Tim Horton's. The teachers' union doesn't care about Nike workers.

    I'm sure you can make and take your own political stances; I personally regard Nike workers to be far worse off than, say, any CUPE members. I don't really care much about most union members, they're in general well-taken care of.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 12:14 PM  

  • "The public sector unions are indeed big and, I believe, make up a significant majority of the total unionized workforce"

    Ever stop to think for even a second about the damage unions have done to their working members?

    We can't afford to manufacture most goods here in Canada because union wages want $25+ per hour - leaving those workers to fight for jobs paying $12 per hour instead.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:58 PM  

  • Politics is all optics, and there's certainly a perception out there that the "NDP is in bed with unions".

    I'm sure that helps them with some people, but it hurts them with others - as the comments above show.

    If the NDP wants to form an actual government, I think they need the break the union links. I assume they'll scrap the 25% rule but, then again, this is the same party that filibustered to keep the mail from arriving so that remains to be seen...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:37 PM  

  • It's also the same party that shelved a vote on replacing the term "socialism" with "social democracy" in its constitution because it was too divisive. Read into that what you may.

    By Anonymous Jim R, at 5:34 PM  

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