Forget the economy.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s downfall – his Achilles’ heel – is his failure to respect Parliamentary institutions, says NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.
“It’s his Achilles’ heel, because when you don’t respect institutions, you show that you don’t respect the public,” Mulcair said during an interview on the Global News program The West Block with Tom Clark.
“Voters are starting to get the signal from Mr. Harper that he doesn’t care what they think, because he’s constantly communicating that he doesn’t care what anybody else thinks now that he’s got a majority.”
Although he wouldn’t speculate on Justin Trudeau – widely expected to be crowned Liberal leader on Sunday evening in Ottawa – Mulcair hinted at his strategy for taking on his left-leaning rival.
“I bring 35 years experience in government, three times elected provincially, three times federally. And also I’ve got a lot of years of experience as a senior public administrator,” said Mulcair.
“A lot of Canadians share the NDP’s vision, they share our goals, they haven’t always been sure, federally, whether or not we could be entrusted with the complex public administration. That’s what we’re doing now – we’re communicating clearly to Canadians that we share their vision, we share their objectives. But we’re also capable of doing a really job of managing the government.”
He also addressed Trudeau’s popularity in the polls, suggesting that the Liberals are now more popular than the NDP, something which has been attributed to Trudeau’s persona rather than his policies.
“I’ll have to admit, that if it were indeed the fact that the election were in two days, you might be right because sometimes there’s that sort of straw fire that goes up and lasts a few seconds,” said Mulcair.
“The election’s not in two days. It’s not in two weeks. It’s not in two months. The next election’s in two-and-a-half years. It’s the only recipe I know in politics is to work non-stop.”
He said he travels the country constantly and believes Canadians want the NDP to get rid of the Conservatives in government.
Mulcair also criticized the Liberal party which he claims did little to change Canada for the better during 13 years in power.
“If you look at the history of the Liberal party, they’ve constantly flashed left and turned right. They didn’t do anything on climate change. They talked about it, but they did nothing,” he said.
“That’s why Canada had one of the worst records in the world. I use that one example but there are lots of others, whether it’s on daycare, or First Nations issues. For the 13 years they were there, they talked about doing things but they never actually did anything.
“The NDP intends to deliver.”
Some of the policies Mulcair mentioned include defending free universal public health care, working towards a daycare system in Canada, and maintaining 65 as retirement age.
Mulcair made the comments in the West Block interview from Montreal where the NDP hosted a policy convention this weekend.
One of the items on the agenda included toning down references to socialism in the NDP constitution.
Mulcair said it’s important for the party to reach out beyond the traditional base.
“I’m still going to consider myself and everyone in this room a social democrat, which means that we make it a priority to remove inequalities in our society, seek prosperity but seek prosperity for everyone.”