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Tom Mulcair

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Tom Mulcair

The Honourable
Tom Mulcair
Leader of the Opposition
Assumed office
March 24, 2012
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Nycole Turmel
Leader of the New Democratic Party
Assumed office
March 24, 2012
Preceded by Jack Layton
Nycole Turmel (interim)
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Outremont
Assumed office
September 17, 2007
Preceded by Jean Lapierre
Opposition House Leader
In office
May 26, 2011 – October 12, 2011
Leader Jack Layton
Nycole Turmel (interim)
Preceded by David McGuinty
Succeeded by Joe Comartin
Quebec Minister of the Environment
In office
April 2003 – February 27, 2006
Preceded by André Boisclair
Succeeded by Claude Béchard
Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Chomedey
In office
September 12, 1994 – March 26, 2007
Preceded by Lise Bacon
Succeeded by Guy Ouellette
Personal details
Born Thomas Joseph Mulcair
(1954-10-24) October 24, 1954
Ottawa, Ontario
Nationality Canadian,
Political party New Democratic Party (federal, 1974-present)
Quebec Liberal Party (provincial, 1994-2007)
Spouse(s) Catherine Pinhas (m. 1976)
Residence Stornoway (2012-2015)
Alma mater McGill University
Profession Lawyer, politician
Religion Roman Catholic[1][2][3]

Thomas Joseph "Tom" Mulcair[4] PC MP (born October 24, 1954) is the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada. An NDP Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Outremont in Quebec since 2007, he was selected as the leader of the NDP at a leadership election on March 24, 2012, with 57.2% of the votes on the fourth and final ballot.[5]

A lawyer by profession, Mulcair joined the federal NDP in 1974.[6] He was the provincial Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for the riding of Chomedey in Laval from 1994 to 2007, holding the seat for the Liberal Party of Quebec. He served as the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks from 2003 until 2006, in the Liberal government of Premier Jean Charest. Elected MP for Outremont in a by-election in 2007, he was named co-Deputy Leader of the NDP shortly afterwards, and has won re-election to his seat, three times.

On May 26, 2011, he was named the New Democratic Party's Opposition House Leader and also served as the NDP's Quebec lieutenant, a post he held until named party leader. Prior to entering politics, Mulcair was a senior civil servant in the Quebec provincial government, ran a private law practice, and taught law at university level.[7]


  • Early life, family, and education 1
  • Early career 2
  • Provincial politics 3
    • Sustainable Development and Infrastructure 3.1
    • Departure from cabinet 3.2
  • Federal politics 4
    • Talks with federal parties 4.1
    • By-election win 4.2
    • Deputy leader 4.3
    • Leadership race 4.4
    • Leader of the Opposition and the NDP 4.5
    • 2015 election 4.6
  • Political positions 5
    • Women's rights 5.1
    • First Nations 5.2
    • Public safety 5.3
    • Abortion 5.4
    • Foreign policy 5.5
    • Economic policy 5.6
    • Environmental policy 5.7
  • Electoral record 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life, family, and education

Mulcair was born in 1954 at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. He is the son of Jeanne (née Hurtubise), a school teacher, and Harry Donnelly Mulcair, who worked in insurance.[8] He is the second-oldest of the couple's ten children, and grew up bilingual. His father was of Irish descent and his mother was of French-Canadian, and more distant Irish, ancestry.[9] His maternal great-great-grandfather was the 9th Premier of Quebec, Honoré Mercier,[10] and through his mother, Mulcair is also a three times great-grandson of the 1st post-Confederation Quebec premier, Pierre-Joseph-Olivier Chauveau.[9] Mulcair was raised in the Wrightville district of Hull (now Gatineau) and in Laval, just north of Montreal. He graduated from Laval Catholic High School, and in Social Sciences from CEGEP Vanier College.[11]

When Mulcair started law school at 18, he had to borrow money from his sister to buy textbooks. He paid his way through school by working construction jobs, tarring and graveling roofs.[12]

Tom Mulcair and wife Catherine Pinhas in New Brunswick, 2015

Mulcair graduated from McGill University in 1977 with degrees in common law and civil law. During his penultimate year, he was elected president of the McGill Law Students Association, and sat on the council of the McGill Student Union.

He has been married to Catherine Pinhas since 1976; she is a psychologist who was born in France to a Sephardic Jewish family from Turkey.[13][14] The couple have two sons; the oldest, Matt, is a sergeant in the Quebec provincial police and married to Jasmyne Côté, an elementary school teacher, and have two children, Juliette and Raphaël. Their second son, Greg, is an aerospace engineer who teaches physics and engineering technologies full time at John Abbott College on the Island of Montreal.[15][16]

Mulcair has dual Canadian and French citizenship, and is fluently bilingual in English and French.[17] Mulcair may have acquired the latter through his marriage to his French-born wife, as French nationality law allows the spouse of a French citizen to apply for French citizenship after being married for five years, providing the applicant has sufficient knowledge of French.[18] He calls himself "Tom" in English and "Thomas" in French.[19]

Early career

The couple moved to Quebec City in 1978, and Mulcair was called to the Bar of Quebec in 1979.[20] He worked in the Legislative Affairs branch in Quebec's Ministry of Justice and later in the Legal Affairs Directorate of the Superior Council of the French Language.[21]

In 1983 Mulcair became Director of Legal Affairs at Alliance Quebec.[22] During that time, he played a role in amending Bill 101, the Charter of the French language, in opposition to the goals of Quebec separatists.[23] In 1985 he began a private law practice, and was named the reviser of the statutes of Manitoba following the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the Reference re Manitoba Language Rights case. Mulcair also taught law courses to non-law students at Concordia University (1984), at the Saint Lawrence Campus of Champlain Regional College in Sainte-Foy, and at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. He served as Commissioner of the Appeals Committee on the Language of Instruction (1986).

Mulcair was President of the Office des professions du Québec (1987 to 1993), where he introduced reforms to make disciplinary hearings more transparent and successfully led a major effort to have cases of alleged sexual abuse of patients decisively dealt with.[24][25] Mulcair was also a board member of the group Conseil de la langue française, and at the time of his appointment to the Office des Professions he had been serving as President of the English speaking Catholic Council.[26]

Provincial politics

He first entered the

  • Official website
  • Tom Mulcair – Parliament of Canada biography
  • "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French).  

External links

  1. ^ "Smart, tough and nasty: the definitive portrait of Thomas Mulcair" by John Geddes, Macleans, September 19, 2012.
  2. ^ Hume, Jessica (14 Feb 2013). "Mulcair dodges question on homophobic Catholic views".  
  3. ^ Gray, Charlotte (November 2013). "Prime Minister in Waiting".  
  4. ^ "Mulcair makes believers of us with historic by-election victory". The Monitor. September 26, 2007. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Live coverage: Thomas Mulcair replaces Jack Layton as leader of the NDP and the Official Opposition". The Globe and Mail, Toronto. March 24, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "NDP Leadership: Thomas Mulcair draws on experience as Quebec environment minister" by Joanna Smith, Toronto Star, March 16, 2012.
  7. ^ "About Tom Mulcair". NDP Official Website. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ "Mulcair is back, Courrier Laval, April 20, 2007". June 10, 2009. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Thomas Mulcair". Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Yaffe, Barbara (March 17, 2012). "Questions surround Mulcair as NDP leadership vote looms".  
  14. ^ "New NDP leader strongly backs Israel | The Canadian Jewish News". 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Thomas Mulcair defends dual citizenship". CBC News. The Canadian Press. 17 Jan 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Nationalité". La France à New York. Retrieved 30 July 2015. 
  19. ^ "French-language debate triggers hot exchanges on niqab, economy, national unity".  
  20. ^ "À propos de Thomas". July 26, 1977. Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  21. ^ Gibb-Clark, Margo, Quebec's 'others': Life in a French world, The Globe and Mail, June 22, 1983, page A1
  22. ^ Graeme Hamilton (July 17, 2015). "NDP’s Tom Mulcair plays down his past as anglo-rights defender with election on the line". National Post. 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Mulcair, the redeemer?". National Observer. July 2, 2015. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Professional Code of Quebec". Retrieved September 1, 2011. 
  25. ^ Lévesque, Kathleen, La Corporation professionnelle des médecins serait incapable de protéger le public, Le Devoir, August 5, 1993, page A2
  26. ^ "About Thomas Mulcair". 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  27. ^ Le Devoir: La méthode Mulcair(French)
  28. ^ a b "About Tom « Thomas Mulcair". Retrieved December 26, 2011. 
  29. ^ Seguin, Rheal. "Quebec minister ordered to pay in defamation suit". 
  30. ^ "Thomas Mulcair was offered (and refused) envelope full of cash, NDP leader told police". National Post. May 16, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Conservatives demand Thomas Mulcair ‘come clean’ on 1994 bribe probe". National Post. May 22, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Sustainable Development: Because Quality of Life Counts!, Press Release, November 25, 2004". November 25, 2004. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  33. ^ "Ch13-10.indd" (PDF). Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  34. ^ Meunier, Hugo, Prolongement de l'autoroute 25 : Les environnementalistes s'adressent à la Cour supérieure, La Presse, April 1, 2006, page A6
  35. ^ Corbeil, Michel, Mulcair règle ses comptes: Malgré ses flèches à Charest, il reste député Le Soleil, Quebec, March 7, 2006, page A1
  36. ^ Gazette, The (February 28, 2006). "Mulcair quits in a huff, The Gazette, February 28, 2006". Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  37. ^ "I didn't Ok Orford: Mulcair".  
  38. ^ "Orford deal completed before Béchard arrived".  
  39. ^ Dougherty, Kevin (26 May 2006). "I never asked to buy Mount Orford".  
  40. ^ "Mulcair will not be a Liberal candidate in the next election (press release distributed by Canada NewsWire), February 20, 2007". May 28, 2010. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  41. ^ Martin Patriquin (June 29, 2015). "Mulcair’s secret meetings with the Tories". Macleans. Retrieved June 29, 2015. 
  42. ^ Peter O'Neil (July 4, 2015). "Top federal Conservatives back Tom Mulcair’s explanation for 2007 talks, contradicting Maclean’s report". National Post. Retrieved July 5, 2015. 
  43. ^ "À propos de Thomas « Thomas Mulcair". July 26, 1977. Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  44. ^ "En bref — Mulcair courtisé par quatre partis fédéraux" (in French). Le Devoir. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  45. ^ "NDP recruits ex-Quebec environment minister Thomas Mulcair for next election". EarthEast. 20 April 2007. 
  46. ^ "Mulcair sera candidat pour le NPD" (in French). La Presse. 20 April 2007. 
  47. ^ "Jocelyn Coulon est contesté par le B'nai Brith — LCN — National". July 23, 2007. Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  48. ^ "B'nai Brith has many reasons to doubt Jocelyn Coulon". Retrieved June 5, 2010. 
  49. ^ "NDP's Mulcair sworn in, takes swing at Bloc".  
  50. ^ "Mulcair says NDP 'poised' to form government". CBC News. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  51. ^ "Elections Canada — Electoral Districts". Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  52. ^ "Races to watch". Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  54. ^ Les Perreaux (30 Aug 2011). "Thomas Mulcair concedes he's 'thinking' about NDP leadership bid". Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  55. ^ "Those who are supporting Tom’s candidacy « Thomas Mulcair". Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  56. ^ Kirkup, Kristy (February 29, 2012). Chisholm throws support behind Thomas Mulcair", by Kristy Kirkup, February 29, 2012""". Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  57. ^ 'Saganash endorses Mulcair for federal NDP's top job'', by The Canadian Press, March 7, 2012"'". Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  58. ^ CTV News coverage. March 24, 2012, approx. 10:10am EDT.
  59. ^ Tandt, Michael Den (March 19, 2012). "Mulcair's plans to renew party irk NDP old guard". The Gazette (Montreal). Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  60. ^ "NDP Leadership Convention — CBC News Live". Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  61. ^ "Mulcair wins NDP leadership, vows to fight politics of fear | CTV News". October 14, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2012. 
  62. ^ "Mulcair takes up residence at Stornoway".  
  63. ^ New Democratic Party. "Tom Mulcair sworn to the Privy Council." September 14, 2012.
  64. ^ "Bruce Hyer quits NDP caucus to sit as an Independent". Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  65. ^ "Mulcair calls on Patry to resign seat after defection to Bloc". Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  66. ^ "NDP credits pipeline opposition for Victoria byelection win". Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  67. ^ "Fair Trade, Sustainable Development Top of Mulcair's Economic Agenda". The Globe and Mail. April 5, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2015. 
  68. ^ "Tom Mulcair's NDP takes 'vigorously pro-trade' position". Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  69. ^ "Mulcair dismisses Tory charge he trash talked Canada, pipeline while in the U.S.". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  70. ^ Fitzpatrick, Megan (Aug 26, 2013). "NDP determined to abolish Senate, Mulcair says". CBC. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  71. ^ Hall, Chris (Jun 11, 2015). "Senate abolition a non-starter despite Mulcair's push". CBC. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  72. ^ Paul Wells (January 23, 2015). "Remaking Thomas Mulcair". Macleans. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  73. ^ Joshua Errett (October 28, 2014). "With Olivia Chow's jaw-dropping loss, can the left ever win back Toronto?". CBC News. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  74. ^ Éric Grenier (May 20, 2015). "NDP jumps into 3-way race with Conservatives, Liberals". CBC News. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  75. ^ "3-way federal race would have unpredictable outcome". CBC News. June 3, 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  76. ^ Stephen Maher. "Broadbent: Voters warming to NDP". Postmedia Network (Brantford Expositor). Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  77. ^ John Geddes (June 5, 2015). "Mulcair, in with a chance". Macleans. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  78. ^ Stephen Maher (June 16, 2015). "Momentum swings to NDP". Postmedia Network (The London Free Press). Retrieved June 17, 2015. 
  79. ^ Haydn Watters (May 28, 2015). Tampon tax' will end July 1"'". CBC News. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  80. ^ "Conservatives to back NDP push for ban on pay-to-pay bank fees". The Canadian Press (CBC News). June 1, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  81. ^ Kady O'Mally (June 1, 2015). "NDP bid to ban pay-to-pay bank fees blocked from House floor". CBC News. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  82. ^ a b
  83. ^
  84. ^
  85. ^ "Mulcair gives a glimpse of what NDP platform may look like". iPolitics. 
  86. ^ Susana Mas (August 27, 2014). "Tom Mulcair vows aboriginal women inquiry within 100 days if NDP elected". CBC News. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  87. ^
  88. ^
  89. ^
  90. ^
  91. ^ Bryden, Joan (April 20, 2012). "'"Mulcair clarifies stand on marijuana in time for 4/20 'pot holiday. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  92. ^ Janus, Andrea (May 8, 2014). "No anti-abortion candidates allowed to run for NDP: Mulcair". CTV News. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  93. ^ a b
  94. ^
  95. ^
  96. ^
  97. ^ a b Charlie Smith (May 9, 2012). "NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair favours peace with Iran and says sanctions are working". The Georgia Straight. 
  98. ^
  99. ^
  100. ^
  101. ^
  102. ^ a b "Thomas Mulcair makes his case for boosting corporate tax rate". The Toronto Star. August 4, 2015. 


NDP Federal Leadership Election, 2012
Candidate First Ballot % Second Ballot % Third Ballot % Fourth Ballot %
Thomas Mulcair 19,728 30.30 23,902 38.25 27,488 43.82 33,881 57.22
Brian Topp 13,915 21.37 15,624 25.0 19,822 31.6 25,329 42.78
Nathan Cullen 10,671 16.39 12,449 19.92 15,426 24.59 eliminated
Peggy Nash 8,353 12.83 10,519 16.83 eliminated
Paul Dewar 4,883 7.50 withdrew
Martin Singh 3,821 5.87 withdrew
Niki Ashton 3,737 5.74 eliminated
Romeo Saganash withdrew
Total 65,108 100 62,494 100 62,736 100 59,210 100
Canadian federal election, 2011: Outremont
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Thomas Mulcair 21,906 56.37 +16.84 $80,457
Liberal Martin Cauchon 9,204 23.69 −9.39 $51,130
Conservative Rodolphe Husny 3,408 8.77 −1.76 $18,319
Bloc Québécois Élise Daoust 3,199 8.23 −4.32 $10,456
Green François Pilon 838 2.16 −2.15 $4,578
Rhinoceros Tommy Gaudet 160 0.41  
Communist Johan Boyden 143 0.37  
Total valid votes 38,858 100.00
Total rejected ballots 291 0.74 +0.05
Turnout 39,149 60.46 +4.35
Electors on the lists 65,573
Source: Official Voting Results, 41st General Election 2011, Elections Canada
Canadian federal election, 2008: Outremont
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Thomas Mulcair 14,348 39.53 −7.97 $69,072
Liberal Sébastien Dhavernas 12,005 33.08 +4.12 $45,118
Bloc Québécois Marcella Valdivia 4,554 12.55 +1.62 $48,279
Conservative Lulzim Laloshi 3,820 10.53 +1.96 $24,421
Green François Pilon 1,566 4.31 +2.10 not listed
Total valid votes 36,293 100.00
Total rejected ballots 253 0.69
Turnout 36,546 56.11 +18.68
Electors on the lists 64,556
New Democratic hold Swing −6.05
Source: Official Voting Results, 40th General Election 2008, Elections Canada
Canadian federal by-election, September 17, 2007: Outremont
Resignation of Jean Lapierre
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
New Democratic Thomas Mulcair 11,374 47.50 +30.03 $76,194
Liberal Jocelyn Coulon 6,933 28.96 −6.22 $72,539
Bloc Québécois Jean-Paul Gilson 2,618 10.93 −18.08 $57,717
Conservative Gilles Duguay 2,052 8.57 −4.16 $66,401
Green François Pilon 529 2.21 −2.61 $169 François Yo Gourd 145 0.61 $1,774
Independent Mahmood Raza Baig 78 0.33 $45
Independent Jocelyne Leduc 61 0.25 $6
Independent Romain Angeles 46 0.19 $157
Canadian Action Alexandre Amirizian 45 0.19 $0
Independent Régent Millette 32 0.13 +0.08 none listed
Independent John Turmel 30 0.13 none listed
Total valid votes 23,943 100.00
Total rejected ballots 175 0.73 +0.03
Turnout 24,118 37.43 −23.35
Electors on the lists 64,438
New Democratic gain Swing −18.3
Quebec general election, 2003: Chomedey
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Thomas Mulcair 25,363 71.10 +1.23
Parti Québécois Coline Chhay 6,568 18.41 −3.49
Action démocratique Vicken Darakdjian 3,384 9.49 +2.65
Marxist–Leninist Polyvios Tsakanikas 210 0.59
Equality Robert Tamilia 148 0.41 −0.50
Quebec general election, 1998: Chomedey
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Thomas Mulcair 28,293 69.87 +2.17
Parti Québécois Monia Prévost 8,869 21.90 −2.26
Action démocratique Vicken Darakdjian 2,768 6.84 +1.62
Equality Pierre Fortier 368 0.91 −0.01
Socialist Democracy Jean-Pierre Roy 195 0.48
Quebec general election, 1994: Chomedey
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Thomas Mulcair 25,885 67.70 +14.31
Parti Québécois Lidi Costache 9,239 24.16 −0.44
Action démocratique Gaétane Piché 1,997 5.22
Equality Gary Brown 353 0.92 −17.69
Economic Richard Gagné 243 0.64
CANADA! Benjamin Simhon 212 0.55
Commonwealth of Canada John Ajemian 154 0.40
Natural Law John Wolter 150 0.39

Electoral record

Mulcair has promised to end fossil fuel subsidies under previous governments, and introduce cap-and-trade for carbon emissions. He has also promised to reverse cuts to the environmental review processes, and return to "rigorous, science-based environmental impact assessments".[23]

Environmental policy

Mulcair has promised to use additional tax revenue to pay for infrastructure, public transit, a new child care program, and a balanced budget.[23][102]

Thomas Mulcair has proposed reversing some of the corporate tax cuts advanced by the Conservative government, while keeping taxes below the U.S. combined corporate tax rate. Mulcair has stated that he will not raise personal income taxes, but has promised to cancel the Conservative government's income splitting for two-parent households.[102]

Mulcair supports lowering the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% because they create “80% of all new jobs in this country”.[100] He said an NDP government would “create an innovation tax credit to encourage manufacturers to invest in machinery, equipment and property used in research and development.”[101]

Tom Mulcair visiting Cambridge’s Innovative Steam Technologies

Economic policy

In his time as NDP leader, Mulcair has promoted “a balanced and principled approach” to the conflict in the Middle East, criticizing “Stephen Harper and the Conservatives’ one-sided approach”.[93] Mulcair has stated that he is "an ardent supporter of Israel in all instances and circumstances”,[96] while also stating that he is also an "ardent supporter of the creation of a Palestinian state".[97] He has criticized some of the settlement policies of the Israeli government as illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention,[97] while also opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement against Israel as "grossly unacceptable".[98] On July 22, 2014, Mulcair issued a statement where he reiterated his strong support for a ceasefire and negotiated two state solution during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict.[99]

Mulcair has been an opponent of Canada’s involvement in the combat mission in Iraq against ISIS.[95]

During a policy speech in May 2015, Mulcair announced the NDP would “increase overall funding for development assistance and ensure that poverty alleviation remains at the centre of Canadian aid efforts.”[94]

Mulcair believes that Canada can be a “positive force for peace, justice and respect for human rights around the world.” [93]

Foreign policy

Mulcair stated at a conference in Quebec that people with an anti-abortion stance are not welcome to run for NDP, saying "it’s not debatable, it’s not negotiable, it is a woman’s right to determine her own health questions and her reproductive choices."[92]


Mulcair supports the longstanding NDP policy to decriminalize personal use of marijuana.[90] Mulcair has stated that he does not believe that someone should serve jail time for minimal possession of marijuana; but he has also stated that he does not support legalization.[91]

Mulcair has been critical of Conservative public safety policy, saying cuts to food inspection and aeronautical safety have put Canadians at risk.[88] He also “criticized previous governments for allowing rail companies to police their own safety and called on Ottawa to take a more active role in doing that job” after the Lac Mégantic tragedy in Quebec.[89]

Public safety

Mulcair called for a “nation-to-nation” relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples following the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on residential schools. He said his “number 1” priority would be to improve First Nations education.[87]

In response to the Idle No More movement, Mulcair said that the NDP would put a filter on decisions made to ensure that they respect court rulings and international obligations to First Nations in Canada.[85] He has also pledged to call a national public inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women within 100 days of taking office, if his party is elected to government.[86]

Tom Mulcair and Grand Chief Perry Bellegarde at the AFN General Assembly

First Nations

In 2014, as NDP leader, Mulcair announced that an “an NDP government would launch a national public enquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women within 100 days of taking office”.[83] Mulcair believes that “only a full public inquiry would get to the root causes of violence against aboriginal women”.[84]

As NDP Finance Critic, Mulcair was critical of Stephen Harper’s 2009 budget because of “pay equity reforms which he said would remove the right of women to go to court to demand equal pay for work of equal value”.[82] He said that “the NDP could never support a budget package that maintained that sort of measure”.[82]

Women's rights

Political positions

Despite early campaign polls which showed an NDP lead, the party lost 51 seats on election night and fell back to its former third place in Parliament. By winning 44 seats Mulcair was still able to secure the second best showing in the party's history, winning one more seat than Ed Broadbent managed in the 1988 election.

2015 election

By May 2015 however the NDP had managed to recover much of its lost ground in public opinion polling and was finding itself in a tight three-way race with both the Liberals and Conservatives.[74][75] Commentators pegged several factors, including Mulcair's opposing stance against the Conservative's Bill C-51 which the Liberals agreed to support and the surprise win for the Alberta NDP in the 2015 Alberta provincial election, as having helped revive the federal party's lagging fortunes.[76][77][78] The party also enjoyed success in getting two of its bills through the House at this time, the first of which abolished the so called "tampon tax" tax on feminine hygiene products,[79] while the second banned the use of "pay-to-pay" fees charged by banks,[80] although the latter was later blocked from the House floor by the Conservatives.[81]

Nevertheless, following the election of Justin Trudeau as leader of the Liberals in April 2013 the political fortunes of the NDP appeared to be on the decline, with the party falling back to its traditional third place in public opinion polls.[72] The party would go on to lose a June 2014 by-election to the Liberals in the previously safe riding of Trinity-Spadina, which was made vacant following incumbent Olivia Chow's decision to run unsuccessfully in the 2014 Toronto mayoral election.[73]

During the Mike Duffy expenses controversy and other expense scandals related to the Senate of Canada, the NDP reasserted its longstanding position that Senate should be abolished.[70] Mulcair promised to seek a mandate for Senate abolition during the 2015 Canadian federal election even though the Supreme Court had ruled in 2014 that abolition would require the consent of all ten provinces.[71]

Tom Mulcair in Montreal with Quebec NDP MPs

Mulcair declared his party's support for trade deals that including enforceable provisions on labour rights and environmental protection.[67][68] Mulcair also strongly opposed plans for the creation of the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines,[23] which included travelling to Washington D.C. to lobby against American approval of Keystone, and instead promoted the creation of a pipeline to carry western Canadian oil to be refined on Canada's east coast.[69]

His first year as leader of the NDP was plagued with several prominent defections. Thunder Bay—Superior North MP Bruce Hyer opted to sit as an independent after being disciplined for voting in favour of the dissolution of the Canadian Firearms Registry, a position counter to one strongly championed by Mulcair.[64] Jonquière—Alma MP Claude Patry later defected to the Bloc Québécois after disagreeing with the NDP's position to amend the Clarity Act, another policy which was strongly promoted by Mulcair.[65] The NDP did however manage to retain their seat in Victoria following the results of a close by-election.[66]

On April 18, 2012, Mulcair moved into Stornoway, with his wife, Catherine Pinhas.[62] On September 14, 2012, he was sworn in as a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, and is entitled to the style "The Honourable" for life.[63]

Tom Mulcair at the Rally for Change

Leader of the Opposition and the NDP

At the leadership convention, Thomas Mulcair was elected NDP leader with 57.2% of the vote, beating challenger Brian Topp's 42.8% on the fourth ballot.[60][61] Ed Broadbent went on to praise Mulcair's work as a parliamentarian.[23]

Mulcair campaigned on reinventing the party, to strengthen its presence in Quebec, and attract voters in other parts of the country.[23] However, leadership rival Brian Topp and former NDP leader Ed Broadbent framed the race as staying true to the NDP cause under Topp, versus moving the party to the political centre and away from its principles under Thomas Mulcair.[58][59]

Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton died on August 22, 2011, following a battle with cancer, and was honoured with a state funeral. Mulcair stated that Layton's death had hit him exceptionally hard, and that while he was considering a federal NDP leadership bid, he would need several weeks to make up his mind on that decision.[54] On October 13, 2011, at a press conference in suburban Montreal, Mulcair declared his candidacy for the federal NDP leadership, scheduled for March 23–24, 2012. He attracted the support of 60 of the 101 other federal NDP MPs,[55] including Robert Chisholm[56] and Romeo Saganash,[57] the only two to have dropped out of the leadership race.

Thomas Mulcair gives his acceptance speech after being named NDP leader on March 24, 2012

Leadership race

In the 2011 federal election, despite facing a challenge from former federal justice minister Liberal Martin Cauchon,[52] Mulcair was re-elected once more with 56.4% of the popular vote, 21,916 to 9,204.[53] The NDP became the Official Opposition for the first time ever, mainly on the strength of winning 59 of Quebec's 75 ridings, including Mulcair's.[23] This was a notable political event, nicknamed the "orange wave".[23]

On October 14, 2008, Mulcair was re-elected as the MP for Outremont, making him the first New Democrat to win a riding in Quebec during a federal general election. He defeated the federal Liberal candidate, Sébastien Dhavernas, by 14,348 votes to 12,005 (a margin of 6.4%).[51]

Mulcair was sworn in on October 12, 2007.[49] Earlier, he was named co-deputy leader of the NDP along with Libby Davies.[50] As the party's Quebec lieutenant, he worked to improve the standard of translation for the campaign's Francophone party materials, with Layton's support.[23]

Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair in Montreal, 2011

Deputy leader

Mulcair was only the second NDP Member of Parliament ever elected from Quebec, following Phil Edmonston in 1990 (one previous MP, Robert Toupin of Terrebonne, had crossed the floor to the NDP in 1986). Mulcair is also only the second non-Liberal ever to win Outremont, following Progressive Conservative Jean-Pierre Hogue in 1988.

Mulcair also became Layton's Quebec lieutenant. On June 21, 2007, in an uncontested nomination, Mulcair became the NDP's candidate in the riding of Outremont for a by-election on September 17. Mulcair won the by-election, defeating Liberal candidate Jocelyn Coulon 48% to 29%; the seat had been a Liberal stronghold since 1935 (except for the 1988 election). Jean Lapierre suggested that Mulcair was likely aided by defecting Bloc Québécois supporters (the Bloc candidate had finished second in the 2006 federal election). In addition, Coulon's writings had been condemned by B'nai Brith Canada, and the local Jewish community in Outremont makes up 10% of the riding demographics.[47][48]

Tom Mulcair celebrates his by-election win with Jack Layton

By-election win

Over the course of several months, New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton persuaded Mulcair to run for the NDP in Quebec, where the party had no seats.[23] On April 20, 2007, Mulcair confirmed that he would run for the NDP in the next federal election.[45][46]

Although Mulcair has identified former Quebec Liberal Party leader Claude Ryan as his political mentor,[43] his presence in the front row during a speech in Montreal by NDP Leader Jack Layton in March 2007 led to speculation about his political future.[44]

With his exit from the provincial Liberals, Mulcair explored an entry into Federal politics, having discussions with the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party, and the Conservative Party of Canada,[23] During this time he also considered a job with a prominent law firm's environment section.[41] Talks with the Conservatives failed because of differing views on the Kyoto Protocol.[42]

Talks with federal parties

Federal politics

On February 20, 2007, he announced that he would not be a Liberal candidate in the 2007 Quebec general election.[40]

In 2006, Mulcair opposed a proposed condominium development in the mountain and ski resort of Mont Orford National Park.[23] During a February 27, 2006 Cabinet shuffle, Charest removed Mulcair from his position as Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, and Parks, and offered him the lesser cabinet position of Minister of Government Services.[23] His opposition to the Government's development plans fuelled speculation that this was a punishment,[28][35] which led Mulcair to resign from cabinet rather than accept the apparent demotion.[36] The testimony of Jean Charest, incoming Environment Minister Claude Béchard, and the owner of the company pursuing the development plan, Andre L'Esperance, all contradicted Mulcair, saying that the Orford deal had been approved by Mulcair before he left.[37][38][39]

Departure from cabinet

Accomplishments related to infrastructure included the completion of Autoroute 30 between Vaudreuil and Brossard, Autoroute 50 between Gatineau and Lachute, the widening of Route 175 between Stoneham and Saguenay, the widening of Route 185 from Rivière-du-Loup to the New Brunswick border and the introduction of a toll bridge which would complete Autoroute 25 between Montreal and Laval.[34]

On November 25, 2004, Mulcair launched Quebec's Sustainable Development Plan and tabled a draft bill on sustainable development. Also included was a proposed amendment to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms to create a new right, the right to live in a healthy environment that respects biodiversity, in accordance with the guidelines and standards set out in the Act.[32] Mulcair's Sustainable Development Plan was based on the successful European model and was described as one of the most avant-garde in North America.[33] Mulcair followed the proposal by embarking on a 21-city public consultation tour, and the Act was unanimously adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec in April 2006.[23]

Sustainable Development and Infrastructure

Mulcair accused former PQ minister Yves Duhaime of influence peddling. Duhaime filed a defamation suit in 2005 and Mulcair was ordered to pay $95,000, plus legal costs.[29] In 2010 the provincial police anti-corruption squad in Quebec investigated the then sitting Mayor of Laval, Quebec, Gilles Vaillancourt, for allegations of bribing several provincial politicians. The probe contacted Mulcair to discuss a suspected bribe offered to him in 1994.[30] Mulcair claims he never looked in the envelope and handed it back to the Mayor.[31]

Newly elected Premier Jean Charest named Mulcair Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks. At the time of his appointment to Cabinet he had been serving on several volunteer boards including The Montreal Oral School for the Deaf, Operation Enfant Soleil and the Saint-Patrick's Society.[28] During his tenure he was a supporter of the Kyoto Protocol, and drafted a bill amending the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms to include the right to live in a healthy environment. The bill passed in 2006.[23]

According to Le Devoir journalist Michel David, Mulcair is the person who coined the expression Pinocchio syndrome, which was the title of a book by André Pratte in 1997 about lies in politics.[27] In the book, Mulcair speaks about why he believes lying is common in politics, because, according to him, people feel free to manipulate journalists and say just about anything.

[23] in the provincial election.Parti Québécois He was re-elected in 1998, and again in 2003 when the Liberals ousted the [6]

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