TORONTO—As the New Democratic Party’s leadership convention in late March edges closer, it seems there might finally be a clear leader in the race to head up Canada’s second-ranked party.
The field of candidates has continued to narrow, with most pundits and pollsters narrowing it down to four real contenders: Paul Dewar, Peggy Nash, Brian Topp, and perceived front-runner Thomas Mulcair.
While each candidate has noteworthy strengths and endorsements, only Mulcair has faced serious attacks from the Conservative Party—a veritable seal of approval for many diehard NDPers.
Mulcair is also facing anonymous attacks in the form of a website dedicated to exposing his dirty policy laundry, so to speak.
The “Know Mulcair” website, with the “no” in “Know” bolded for emphasis, details some of Mulcair’s positions as a former provincial minister for the Quebec Liberal party that contradict the NDP’s own left-leaning positions.
The website purports to belong to “active and longstanding members of the NDP.”
The Conservatives, meanwhile, recently bandied about a story that Mulcair tried to negotiate himself a cabinet seat with their party upon his departure from the Quebec Liberals, an accusation Mulcair denies.
For most NDP members, any connection or willing cooperation with the Conservatives is tantamount to party treason. Mulcair’s roots with the centrist Liberal party are much more palatable to party stalwarts.
Mulcair’s Quebec roots give him much-needed street cred in the province which, until the last election, sent Bloc Quebecois MPs to Parliament.
Whether Mulcair can beat out stiff criticism from within his party while facing attacks from the Conservatives will be known definitively on March 24 when NDP members vote at the leadership convention in Toronto.