Thomas Mulcair has been called the NDP's rising star. Personally, I think he believes he's full risen.
Now I know that those who know him from his days as Liberal Environment Minister in Quebec, claim that he is well respected and has a terrific reputation. I have no reason to doubt that nor do I intend to dispute it.
All I know of his history is what I've read. I understand he and Charest clashed on an environmental issue and Mulcair was offered a demotion to another file and he quit cabinet over it, in a huff apparently.
I'm not really interested in his history that far back though. I'm much more intrigued by what I've seen of him since hitting the federal scene and I'm most interested in his reaction to the Green Shift.
My general observations of the man are that he is exceptionally bright, a quick thinker, a confident and effective speaker and someone who is devoted to his causes. I have also observed a temper that is just beneath the surface and a real ability to be nasty, in a way that we generally see coming from the CPC. I've seen this in the House, on panels and at committee.
So, that is his style I suppose and that's fair enough. We've certainly seen the NDP crawl on to the CPC attack band wagon lately, but they generally differentiate themselves by sticking to the facts. Not Mr. Mulcair. If he is better able to make his point through fabrication or twisting of fact, he will do so.
Have a listen to this interview on CPAC, (@33:26).
He says you cannot begin with a green tax, then phase in cap and trade. The two cannot work together. Huh? Environmentalists would disagree. Oh, and doesn't the province of Quebec have a carbon tax and didn't they just announce that they would also introduce a cap and trade system?
He then goes on to say that the Lib's did nothing, blah, blah, 13 years, blah, blah and added the Conservatives don't want to do anything, the Bloc can't do anything, only the NDP can do something. Okay, after I finished laughing I gave the guy kudos for optimism.
Watch carefully and you can see him sizing up his immediate audience, Donais. He knows precisely what he can get away with and goes for it. It's clever to be sure, but he's not being challenged at all on what he is saying. It should be a given in broadcasting that if the host doesn't know whit about a subject, (no insult to Donais, I like the guy), there should be someone objective there who can challenge the politico's statements.
Mulcair has that figured out too though, claiming that Environmental groups (who have programs on TV. Hmmm I wonder who that could be?) have biases and self interest at heart. Clever. He's denouncing Suzuki and his comments on QP a while back, but not naming names. Why? Because Suzuki railed against the NDP for not supporting the Lib plan. For the record, Suzuki endorses both cap and trade and a carbon tax. I guess he's only being self interested when he's endorsing the Liberal plan. Incredible.
After making that comment, Donais quietly figures out that Mulcair is now diminishing the Environmentalist voice asks, 'So does it worry you to see Environmentalists say that it's a good plan?' , to which Mulcair replies, 'Well I haven't heard one single person say it's a good plan.' Hilarious! Everyone else has but somehow, he's missed everything, except of course the one whose name shall not be mentioned. Is he too, like the Con's, depending on everyone in the electorate being stupid?
He then claims 'even Mr. Dion had to say in his presentation that the best system is the NDP system'. I don't know about you, but I must have missed that part. He then said that Dion said that cap and trade was too complicated and added the dig, 'well for him, too complicated is anything that has to be acted on.'
Dion didn't say that of course. He said that the tax shift could be implemented immediately and that cap and trade would take years to put in place because of the amount of consultation etc. involved. Nor of course did he dismiss cap and trade.
So, Mulcair is clever and sly. A good politician some would say and by current definitions, I suppose they'd be right. He didn't demonstrate that anger that I've seen, but he did twist the facts and I think he knows he's vulnerable or at least the party is vis a vis their need for inroads in Quebec. So it's my bet that he'll resort to just about anything. He's charged afterall with getting the NDP vote out in the province. The Lib's just threw a big wrench into the spokes of the wheels I think he started moving.
If you're in Quebec, I'd love hearing from you in terms of what this man puts forward this summer. The NDP are obviously worried about being displaced in Quebec on this particular issue, after all, their rising star thought he had this one in the bag. They have their best attack dog out there making their case. Something tells me it won't be pretty and he's someone to watch.
If you understand French, it's worth listening to his actual words. Also, if you listen to the interviews following Mulcair, you'll see support for Dion's plan and if Mulcair was still in the studio at the time, I'm sure he was taking notes for his next interview...that or putting his fingers in his ears and chiming, I can't hear you!
btw, there is a new poll out. I'll digest it and maybe speak to it tomorrow, but Anderson, I take your warning to the Con's with a grain of sea salt. I know, how elitist of me!