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Who cares what Tom Mulcair has to say?
The former NDP leader-turned-political commentator is by definition a loser, but he keeps getting media gigs
Since driving his party into the ground in the 2015 election with his leadership that was premised on being able to expand NDP support beyond its traditional base, Tom Mulcair has had it quite good.
After resigning from his Outremont seat, which he won in a surprise 2007 byelection victory, in August 2018, Mulcair has gotten gigs offering his political commentary on CTV News, plus Montreal’s CJAD and TVA, as well a presumably-plush position teaching political science à l’université de Montréal.
Follow CTV’s 2021 election coverage and you’ll find Mulcair offering dazzling insights, like:
Mulcair — a former MNA with Quebec’s right-leaning Liberal party and admirer of hardcore neoliberal U.K. PM Margaret Thatcher— was elected NDP leader in 2012 after the passing of Jack Layton, who brought the party to its best-ever showing in 2011, supplanting the Liberals as the Official Opposition party in parliament.
Mulcair gained renown for his aggressive performance in the House of Commons, grilling then-prime minister Stephen Harper about a Senate expense scandal nobody remembers now.
At the outset of the 2015 election, it looked like the NDP — riding high from the Alberta NDP’s surprise majority government earlier that year — could form government for the first time in its history.
But then — cue the shoegaze music — something strange happened.
The official narrative is that Mulcair took a principled stand against the Harper government’s niqab ban for citizenship ceremonies, which cost him votes in xenophobia-riddled Quebec, allowing the third-place Liberals to return from the dead and present themselves as the most credible alternative to Harper.
There’s just one flaw in this logic — Justin Trudeau had the same position against the niqab ban.
It’s a convenient story from Mulcair’s perspective — he spoke the truth but those ignorant Quebecois couldn’t stand to hear it, so the party was reduced from its historic high of 103 seats to 44.
What this ignores is his full-throated embrace of neoliberalism, promising an NDP government would balance the budget in four years, just like Maggie Thatcher would have wanted.
This promise allowed Trudeau to triangulate his way into his party being perceived as the genuinely progressive alternative to NDP and Conservative austerity, offering racist Quebeckers something in exchange for their acquiescence on the niqab issue.
Mulcair got turfed at the NDP’s 2016 convention in Edmonton and since he retired it’s been largely sour grapes for his successor, Jagmeet Singh, whose own strategy appears to be running ever-so-slightly to the left of the Liberals.
But there’s nothing a massive company like Bell Media, which owns CTV and CJAD, would like more than to present Mulcair’s boilerplate commentary as a credible left-leaning voice, manufacturing consent for an increasingly narrow, hollowed-out political spectrum.
In other news …
The AUKUS agreement, which sounds like something out of Frank Herbert’s Dune, sees the U.S. and U.K. giving Australia the capability to build nuclear-powered submarines as a means of confronting China.
It may not surprise you to learn that China — Australia’s number one trading partner — sees this deal as a provocation that is reflective of an “obsolete Cold War mentality,” as per a foreign ministry spokesperson.
But the French government is also upset by the arrangement, because it had a $50-billion contract to build a dozen nuclear subs for Australia that will no longer be needed.
From the Washington Post: The nuclear-powered subs will be faster, more capable, harder to detect and potentially much more lethal than conventional submarines. They will carry conventional — not nuclear — weapons, the three leaders emphasized.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 133 police officers across the U.S. have died of COVID in 2021, more than firearm and traffic-related incidents combined, as was the case in 2020.
This is, of course, because a lot of cops aren’t getting vaxxed. In fact, police unions in major cities like Chicago, New York and Seattle, are staunchly opposed to mandatory vaccination.
Edited by Scott Schmidt