By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday September 1, 2015
Mulcair can only benefit from claims he’s not a traditional leftwinger
(By Kelly McParland) If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d suspect there was a conspiracy under way to covertly boost the image of Thomas Mulcair among non-NDP voters.There’s no question Mulcair has made a real effort to separate himself from the party’s loopier policies of the past. You won’t hear the word “socialism” escape his lips. He has promised a balanced budget — not someday later on, when they get around to it, if circumstances allow, as the Liberals have done. But right away, in the first New Democrat budget after taking office. And he’s pledged to do it without raising taxes on income.
That’s all well and good. But there’s also been a series of curious leaks that seem intended to undermine Mulcair by arguing he’s too conservative, not a real New Democrat but a late convert who adopted the party because it seemed best suited to serve his personal ambition. It’s possible the accusations might raise doubts among true NDP believers, who like their politics undiluted by practicality, but they could also have the opposite effect, making him more attractive to voters who might otherwise be disinclined to support the country’s traditional left-wing party. In other words, if you believe in conspiracies, you might suspect the leaks are an effort to achieve the opposite of their apparent intention.
As the National Post noted recently, Mulcair has been outed for once saying nice things about Margaret Thatcher, of considering an offer to join the Conservatives after quitting Quebec’s Liberals, of being “the most right wing” member of that Quebec Liberal caucus, of supporting Quebec business owners against Quebec’s language police, and of failing to adopt the left’s rote opposition to free trade in all its forms.
He was also criticized by Ed Broadbent, the NDP’s current patron saint and elder statesman, who questioned Mulcair’s leadership skills, accused him of claiming credit for matters he had nothing to do with, and of seeking to change the NDP into “another Liberal party.” Perhaps worst of all, Mulcair is known to be sympathetic to Israel, challenging the party’s status as a safe harbour to all manner of anti-Israel zealots and promoters of boycotts. (Continued: National Post)