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Available Expert - Could the NDP force Thomas Mulcair to make an early exit?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Queen's University political and labour historian Christo Aivalis is available to comment on rumblings within the New Democratic Party that caucus members may call for Thomas Mulcair's resignation earlier than his fall 2017 timeline. Mr. Mulcair lost a leadership review earlier this spring, though promised to stay on as interim leader until a replacement is found. However, in the face of declining poll numbers, visibility in the media and fundraising, some members allegedly feel he should make his exit sooner rather than later.

"While there is validity in the claim that Mulcair has been less than stellar in his performance since the 2015 election, the shift to another interim leader might be difficult," says Dr. Aivalis. "That person would be taking a largely thankless job, and would be likely barred from participating in the 2017 leadership contest. The potential benefit to an early Mulcair exit would be renewed energy, and the potential to put forward a structured and distinct program with which to opposed the Trudeau government - who, while sapping some of the NDP's support, has failed to live up to many of its promises, leaving lanes of attack open."

Dr. Aivalis warns, however, that many of the ideological debates within the party - which are much more contentious than they were when Nycole Turmel was interim leader - have yet to be resolved. He says that a new interim leader would do little to change that and, if the discussion of Mulcair's interim tenure becomes a proxy debate for these ideological questions, gridlock could be highly likely. 

Dr. Aivalis is an adjunct professor of Canadian political and labour history at Queen's University. He has commented extensively in the media on the NDP leadership race.

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