Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Mulcair's Moment

Lawrence Martin's analysis is usually pretty solid, although his suggestions for party leadership posts have not met with overwhelming approval. His proclamation earlier this year that Justin Trudeau should become the new permanent leader of the Liberal Party did not generate enormous applause -- even from Justin Trudeau himself.

But his vote for Thomas Mulcair in this morning's Globe and Mail deserves serious consideration. Mulcair has a reputation for mercurial behaviour. His skepticism about whether photos of Osama Bin  Laden's dead body actually existed showcased his ability to put his foot in his mouth.

On the other hand, as Martin points out: "Thomas Mulcair’s weaknesses may in fact be his strengths. The last thing the NDP wants to put up against this Prime Minister is someone mild of manner, someone who can’t take a punch or throw a bunch of them."  If one thing  is true of Mulcair, it is that he does not underestimate Stephen Harper.

And, of course, there is the matter of the NDP's Quebec caucus:

Most importantly, he is the Quebec strongman. With 59 seats in that province, Quebec is now the NDP base and it is Mr. Mulcair who is indispensable to maintaining it. He is the one who, along with Jack Layton, built it.

There are those in the party who distrust Thomas Mulcair. But, with Jack Layton gone, Mulcair has become the party's keystone. The appointment of Angelo Perischilli as Stephen Harper's Director of Communications is a signal that Quebec has dropped off the Conservatives' radar screen. Mulciar will prevent Quebec from becoming a postscript. So will Bob Rae.

Part of their jobs will be to remind the country that Quebec cannot be overlooked.

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