As the ballots start to get marked, each candidate for the leadership of the federal NDP is making their closing arguments.
With that, Thomas Mulcair has released a new YouTube video to declare “why we need a strong opposition.”
This is tragically disappointing. Nearly everything in the video is the exact opposite of the ads the NDP released during the last election with Jack Layton. Layton stood in front of a Canadian Flag, wore a shirt and tie with the sleeves rolled up, presented a positive message, and produced a slick production. By contrast, Mulcair wears a black suit in front of a black background, talks about what is wrong with Harper, and features really awkward cuts with needless text strewn in. The cuts are even discontinuous as Mulcair switches positions multiple times through the video.
Furthermore, you may note the use of words like “structured opposition”, which begs the question of how top-down and heavy handed a Mulcair administration might become. Even simply noting that comments are disabled on his video shows the unwillingness to engage a wider audience (although to be fair the official NDP YouTube channel has comments disabled and YouTube commenters are notoriously trollish).
The other video, What happened in Quebec, is no more inspiring. He continues to offer a minimal strategy for the rest of Canada, making the unproven and likely erroneous assumption that what works in Quebec will work in the West.
Mulcair is sounding more and more like a Stephen Harper for the NDP: a centralizing and controlling leader who will do what it takes to amalgamate power. As Niki Ashton might say, these are “the Old Politics of division” and I don’t see Mulcair connecting with the two-in-five Canadians who are not voting.
One final note, I didn’t manage to catch the debate here in Vancouver today due to the BC Humanist meeting but I will try to watch it later. I also may be moving Nathan Cullen up my ballot depending on his performance today – but more on that later.