MPs in Ottawa defend Tom Mulcair as NDP interim leader
Tom Mulcair lost a crucial vote of confidence this weekend at the NDP’s convention in Edmonton, you wouldn’t know it on Parliament Hill Monday.
NDP MPs coming back to work in Ottawa expressed support for Mulcair’s offer to stay on until a new leader is chosen.
“I think Tom was a very elegant and classy act to say, ‘OK, well if you want me to stay, I’ll stay,'” Quebec MP Pierre Nantel said.
Other colleagues got personal.
“One of the things I was really excited about as a new MP was to get to see Tom live in the House of Commons, [putting] those skills to work,” rookie parliamentarian Daniel Blaikie said. “I won’t speak for all of caucus, but he has my support.”
Randall Garrison wasn’t sure Mulcair had full caucus support but defended him nonetheless.
“He has my full support, as he did at the convention, and I think it’ll be a very valuable role that he’s got to play,” he said.
Ontario MP Charlie Angus is also defending Mulcair as interim leader, but said he understands why Mulcair lost the confidence of delegates over the weekend.
“They just didn’t see Tom working the crowd, being part of the discussions, hanging out with people,” Angus told Global News in an interview at his Ottawa office. “By the time Sunday came, people thought well maybe we aren’t all going down the same road.”
Though Angus refused to back Mulcair before the convention, his thoughts are with him now.
“Politics is – wow,” he said. “It always seems great when you win, but when you don’t win man there’s nothing more brutal, and Tom was gracious Sunday.”
During the convention, the party voted to extend the deadline for a leadership convention to two years.
But, new party president Marit Stiles says it can happen faster than that.
“We want to make sure all New Democrats across the country can participate fully and actively in the process,” Stiles said. “Having said that, I think that we all want to move quickly.”
The party’s Federal Council will be meeting in the coming weeks to determine the rules for the leadership race.
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