Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday March 19, 2016
Mulcair at risk of ouster by crush of new critics
Tom Mulcair doesn’t come across as the kind of person who’d spend much time looking over his shoulder, even if he had to. But these days you have to wonder whether the NDP leader, who celebrates his fourth anniversary as head of the party next week, is taking the time to look both ways before he crosses any political streets between now and his party’s convention next month.
It would be wrong to say rumblings over Mulcair’s future with the party began only last week. Those rumblings have been a staple of the NDP’s background noise since its dismal showing in the Oct. 19 election. But with the exception of a well publicized sortie by Ontario NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo in January, and complaints last month from a newly minted Montreal-area riding association president, any I-told-you-sos had been uttered off the record, if only in apparent deference to the panel the party convened to autopsy why things went horribly wrong during the last campaign.
Given that the panel’s findings compelled Mulcair to write a letter of apology to the party’s rank and file and take full responsibility for the NDP’s return to third party status, it wasn’t entirely surprising to hear the volume turned up last week on the complaints over Mulcair’s leadership.
It started when Sid Ryan, former head of the Ontario Federation of Labour, told the Globe and Mail last week that Mulcair’s “overbearing personality” made it necessary for the NDP to seek out new leadership. That was followed by letters published in Le Devoir and the Toronto Star this week that didn’t mention Mulcair by name but may as well have spray painted it in day-glo orange across its text as three defeated MPs and nearly three dozen party activists complained the NDP had come adrift from its ideals and purpose.
That missive was quickly followed by a far more specific slam against Mulcair by NDP supporters at Concordia and McGill universities, pointing out “If the NDP wants to remain relevant in Canadian politics, Thomas Mulcair must not remain as party leader.”
At this point, Mulcair seems to be at war . The apparent refusal of NDP MP Niki Ashton to endorse his leadership when asked to do is the icing on an increasingly toxic political cake. Suddenly it seems the brand name Orange Crush may well be taking on a grim new meaning for the party leader. (Continued: London Free Press)