By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Tuesday March 27, 2012
Thomas Mulcair: a principled pragmatist who hits to hurt
As Thomas Mulcair rises to the position of Leader of the Official Opposition, he doesn’t fear Conservative attempts to define him as a vicious, hard-left socialist and quickly drag down his standing among Canadian voters who are just getting to know him.
“I come from a family of 10 children, there is nothing that they can say about me that would be worse than what I’ve heard from my brothers and sisters,” the new NDP Leader said at his inaugural news conference.
The 57-year-old fluently bilingual lawyer likes to speak about being born in Ontario, growing up in Quebec and having roots across Canada as his siblings have spread out in the West. The second-born is a product of a bilingual household of Irish descent, in which theÊoldest children went to English school and the youngest ones were taught in French.
Mr. Mulcair has politics in his blood, as his lineage on his francophone mother’s side includes Honor Mercier, a Quebec premier from 1887 to 1891. Some of his best childhood memories include discussions on public affairs at home, or with a Catholic priest at his English-language high school in Laval, north of Montreal.
His plans as leader are not so much to rewrite NDP policy as to improve the party’s organization and to tweak its messaging for the 21st century.
“We have to refresh our discourse, modernize our approach, and use a language that pleases our supporters, but also attracts people who share our vision,” said Mr. Mulcair, who won on the fourth ballot of the NDP leadership convention on Saturday. (Source: Globe & Mail)