Tuesday, March 15, 2016

End of the Line for Mulcair?

The Denial of Niki

Today has been an absolute horror show for NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. Not only did a group of Quebec activists and former MPs come out asking for "renewal" in specific terms, but current MP and past leadership contender Niki Ashton refused to back her leader when asked to by the media.

It is important not to overstate how much pull past MPs and scattered activists have, because at the end of the day the loudest voices are often not those in the majority. We have seen many grassroots grumblings against leaders before and while they're a crucial barometer, they're not necessarily a reliable one.

However, I feel its also important to not understate how bad Ashton's reluctance to endorse Mulcair is. She is a sitting member of the caucus, as well as popular, young, and generally to the left of the spectrum, and it probably is no coincidence that those groups within the NDP are likely to be the most upset with Mulcair's loss.

Ashton is also obviously ambitious and also a seasoned Member of Parliament, and knows how her actions and words (or lack thereof) will play in the media. She was reluctant to back Muclair because she wanted to send a message.

I thought before that the grassroots grumbles were a threat to Mulcair, but not one organized enough to take him down. Now I'm not so sure. Obviously Ashton believes there is enough opposition to Mulcair that the review may not go his way, and any ramifications from today's spectacle will be minimal because, frankly, the NDP leader's power is waning fast as April approaches.

Mulcair may be in real trouble. Even if he survives the review, there's no telling how long that support will stay, especially if the low polling continues as it has for the NDP.

Ashton may just be the beginning as well, keep an eye on it and watch for the sparks in Edmonton - it should be a good show.


  1. thanks for playing thom....
    next contestant please

  2. Ashton's lack of support is not a surprise As you note she ran against him for the leadership after all. If she didn't think he was the right man for the job when the NDP had 102 seats it would be odd if she did think he was the right man after the NDP lost 58 seats and ten per cent of the popular vote at the last election.

    Why this is important is as part of the larger narrative. Thus far I have not heard any party grandees stand up for Mulcair. Usually a fellow traveler in a never won province has some kind things to say or a rival to Ashton might think standing up for Tom now increases his or her chances of winning the leadership down the road. I have heard no one stand up for Mulcair's continued leadership and I think that does speak volumes as to his standing in the caucus and party in general. Rachel Notley, Adrian Dix, Darrell Dexter, Frank Corbett don't feel compelled to say a nominal line about it is a tough job being leader and criticism is fine because that is what leaders do-they lead etc...etc...etc...No one with any standing in the party is willing to do this? What this says is his leadership is already over and Mulcair should do the honorable thing before humiliation becomes his final reward.

    1. Last week I thought Mulcair would nominally win the leadership review vote-mid-low 60's vote against the review. Today I am not so sure, I think the tide moving away from old Mully and I can see the vote being in favour of the review. 53% in favour 47% against. Still too early to make firm predictions of course but, Mulcair is running out of runway. Two and a half weeks is not enough time for Mulcair to turn this around.

  3. Nikki ran dead last for the leadership, even behind Martin Singh.

    Although there is much discontent with his leadership it is noteworthy that the expresed opposition so fayr has come from pretty marginal groups like the laughable "Socialist caucus" which is held in derision by the party as a whole. Unfortunately the press has seized on them as if they are a force within the party, which I assure you they are not.

    It seems that the Mulcair forces have rallied recently with endorsements from the entire Quebec caucus, all of the rookie MPs, all of the MPs from Vancouver Island, Kevin Neuman of the Steelworkers and Charles Taylor.

    These are much more substantial figures than his declared detractors, even though the press prefers to pay attention to the latter.

    1. I don't consider the random MPs from Quebec and smattering of new MPs from Van Island to be tremendously important, if I'm honest - at least they are not as veteran or significant in name recognition as Ashton is, or now Charlie Angus, Sid Ryan, etc.

      Clearly there is opposition, and while it may not be a majority - never said it was, you'll note - it does have some weight behind it, more weight than a leader claiming a continued mandate after a disastrous election should have.

    2. Quebec M.P.s who all were elected on the coattails of Jack Layton, Mulcair could only save 15 of them! Some endorsement! The majority who were defeated and their riding associations signed an open letter calling for renewal 43/59! All M.P.s from Vancouver Island-Murray Rankin nearly lost to a Green, the rest are neophytes, good for Mulcair some rookies are behind him but, those who work with him in Caucus or in the Commons are less enthusiastic toward his leadership. In fact two of the most senior will not give their support.

      Mulcair should read the writing on the wall and Resign before he is subject to an even greater humiliation!