Monday, October 01, 2007

NDP Leader Jack Layton says election of new NDP MP Thomas Mulcair in Outremont a sign of political change in Quebec

Layton brings new MP to town


New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton visited Vancouver Friday with a message for voters - the decades-old debate about Quebec's future in Canada is nearly over.

As proof, Layton brought with him Thomas Mulcair, the newly-elected NDP MP for Outremont. Mulcair, a popular former provincial Liberal cabinet minister, easily won a byelection with a 20 per cent margin in one of the federal Liberals' safest seats.

And Mulcair says that's just the start for the NDP in Quebec as voters shift more to left-right issues, leaving the pro-independence Bloc Quebecois isolated.

"People in Quebec are fed up with the old divide, based on whether you were a sovereignist or a federalist," Mulcair said in an interview with 24 hours.

"The Bloc Quebecois is past its due date."

Layton said impressive potential candidates for the NDP in Quebec are calling since Mulcair's victory.

"We're going to have a very, very interesting team in Quebec. People will be excited," Layton said. "Tom can help us bridge some of the divides in this country."

And Layton said it is the Liberals who are having problems finding good candidates in Quebec, noting that former Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau dropped out of politics last week after running for the Liberals in 2006 because of leader Stephane Dion's ambivalence about his candidacy.


Layton talked about what has changed since 1990 for the NDP in Quebec, when consumer advocate and Lemon-Aid car buying guide author Phil Edmonston became the first MP elected by the party in Quebec in a by-election.

"We've got a building job to do but unlike with Phil Edmonston where Quebec politics when through a sea change with the creation of the Bloc Quebecois, and frankly, the party did not use Phil in an important role," Layton said.

Mulcair has immediately become co-deputy leader with Vancouver East MP Libby Davies and will also be finance critic in Ottawa.

Layton pointed out that the NDP won about 300,000 votes in Quebec in the 2006 federal election and "if we had proportional representation, we'd already have six or seven seats there."

Both Layton and Mulcair dismissed concern about the federal Green Party eating away at potential NDP votes.

"The Greens were under two percent in the byelections in Quebec," Mulcair said, adding that the deal between Green leader Elizabeth May and Liberal leader Stephane Dion to not run candidates in each others home riding was "a big mistake."

Layton said candidates and policies will make the difference for voters.

"With strong candidates people will come to us - we're not a single issue party," he said.

Mulcair said a key to his Outremont win was pulling support away from both the Bloc and the Liberals.

"The Bloc Quebecois vote went from 30 to 10 percent. The NDP wooed away a lot of the ethnic community that had traditionally been Liberal," Mulcair said.


Chris said...

I think the Bloc's demise was something missed by mainstream media - as they fixated on the slumping liberals. The Bloc did terrible in all the by-elections (even the one they hung on to). That's great news for the NDP and even better news for Canada.

The Green showing in the by-election was disappointing. I was hoping they would do better - especially considering it was a by-election. In Outremont, most Greens would have supported Mulcair, but why were the Greens so low in the other 2 ridings?

Budd Campbell said...

Jack Layton has always been popular in Quebec on a personal level. It's great to see that this is now translating into practical results at the polls. A boost in Quebec will inevitably mean more traction for the Federal NDP in Ontario as well, and to a smaller degree in the West and Atlantic.

Anonymous said...

Bill, where's your comment on Carole's "dumb & dumber" position on Gateway. Guess she is trying to wipe out the party in the suburbs. Elections are won there, Glen understood that. Also, what a great place to roll out such a foolish position.

Budd Campbell said...

anonymous is right. Left to stand without a fully convincing withdrawal and reversal, the "dumb and dumber" outburst costs the 2009 provincial general election at an absolute minimum, and probably 2013 and 2017 as well.

Kevin Falcon is entitled to gloat over this. Once again, the NDP brains trust has been suckered into another bloody suicide run by the fake enviro groups who are in fact controlled by, ... wait for it, ... you guessed it, ... the Liberals.