Mulcair says people want him to kick Harper out

James McLeod
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New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair, along with NDP MP Jack Harris, Chat with Andrew Murphy (seated) at Rocket Bakery & Fresh Food in downtown St. John’s Wednesday. — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair says the No. 1 thing that people say when they come up to him is, “Get rid of Stephen Harper.”

Whether he’s down at Quidi Vidi Lake for the Regatta or having a beer on George Street during the summertime, he said he also gets a lot of people asking to take pictures for Facebook.

But really, he says, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the big topic of conversation.

“They tend to ask me to get rid of Stephen Harper,” Mulcair said in an interview with The Telegram at Rocket Bakery & Fresh Food in downtown St. John’s on Wednesday morning. “There we know where we stand socially, economically and environmentally. Also, they have a good appreciation of what our policies are, but they also, in that sentence, what they’re communicating to me is that they see us as the only ones who can defeat the Conservatives.”

Mulcair’s biggest criticisms of Harper seem focused on things happening on the mainland — he linked Harper government cuts to rail inspections with the Lac-Mégantic tragedy in Quebec, and similarly pointed to cuts to food inspection as a contributing factor to the XL Foods meat recall in Alberta.

But when prompted, he was ready to talk about Newfoundland and Labrador issues specifically, including Muskrat Falls, Marine Atlantic ferry woes, and search and rescue issues.

Mulcair said he was the only Quebec politician in the 2011 federal election to endorse the Muskrat Falls loan guarantee, and he still stands behind the project as an environmentally friendly option for energy.

He wouldn’t offer a specific opinion on the court challenge launched by Quebec which relates to Muskrat Falls, except to say that he doesn’t think it’ll derail the project.

“I’m not particularly concerned,” he said. “I don’t think that court case is going to change anything, to be honest with you.”

As for Marine Atlantic and search and rescue issues, he said Ottawa can be doing more, and that his MPs are the ones speaking up on those issues in a big way.

“Here on the island, the presence of Jack (Harris) and Ryan (Cleary) for us is the best assurance that Newfoundland issues will always be taken into account,” Mulcair said.

But after adding it all up — new helicopters for search and rescue, beefed-up ferry links between Newfoundland and the mainland, more federal regulatory inspections and a whole range of other things the Conservatives are doing wrong, or the Liberals were doing wrong before — Mulcair seemed surprised when he was asked if taxes would go up under an NDP government.

“You’re the first person who’s ever asked me that,” he said, adding quickly that they most definitely won’t.

“I am categorical on that,” he said. “Several provinces are now at the 50 per cent rate. Beyond that, you’re not talking taxation; you’re talking confiscation. And that is never going to be part of my policies, going after more individual taxes. Period. Full stop.”

And then, immediately, he went back on the attack, taking aim at the Conservatives for their record of fiscal management, criticizing them for growing the public service and then making cuts and laying people off.

He said the NDP would spend money on different things, and the NDP would make cuts, but they would be better cuts.

“Yes, you can order your priorities differently. Yes, there is enough money there,” he said. “This is the type of thing that has to be done with a scalpel. They’re hacking away with a rusty machete. They don’t know what they’re doing. They’re lousy managers, and the NDP will provide really competent public administration.”

Mulcair spent most of the interview talking about the Conservatives and the things they’ve been doing wrong, but his sharpest barbs were saved for the Liberals. He said the NDP should be voted into government because that’s better than to “flip between Conservative corruption and Liberal corruption.” He said people should be distrustful of the Liberals especially, because they’re “snake oil salesmen.”

After the interview with The Telegram, he spent time talking with people in Rocket Bakery, shaking hands and getting his picture taken.

Someone who was sitting with an open laptop told The Telegram Mulcair saw a map on the screen and pointed to a cemetery, saying that’s where the Liberals are going.

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: NDP, Conservatives, The Telegram Mulcair Marine Atlantic XL Foods

Geographic location: Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, Muskrat Falls Quidi Vidi Lake George Street Lac-Mégantic Alberta.But Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • robert taggart
    September 05, 2015 - 08:20

    kick harper out .

  • Tim Jamison
    August 13, 2013 - 09:17

    I guess nobody here remembers Tom's "Dutch Disease" comments. Tom is a disaster waiting to happen and here's hoping the new electoral map (and voter fatigue with the ridiculous things the NDP actually says in the House) blows Tom right out of the water, inlcuding out of his own seat and out of our political scene

  • Ed
    August 12, 2013 - 05:58

    What is the only thing worse than a two party state? The level of corruption in Canadian Federal politics is a direct reflection of the two party rule. I am glad the NDP has broken through.

  • D
    August 08, 2013 - 23:33

    The NDP offer Transparent Government, Equal Healthcare, Environmental Responsibility and Respect for are Native Brothers and Sisters. You will never find a peoples Government with the other clowns. There bought and paid for. I would like to see Elizabeth May as PM for Canada. Only the last 2 will support Democracy. Harpers Gotta go. .

  • daveyh
    August 08, 2013 - 22:47

    If Mulcair was serious about turfing Harper he needs to get together with the Liberals and find some common ground. Splitting the vote only assures another Harper majority.

  • Observant
    August 08, 2013 - 21:20

    Mulcair and Trudeau... les garçons quebecois... Trudeau the Quebec supremacist and Quebec-corrupted Mulcair. Yeah, sure, let's sell out Canada to another PM from Quebec. Some people really hate themselves!

  • Linda
    August 08, 2013 - 17:58

    Terence, Couldn't we say the samething about provincial Liberal party ?

  • Craig
    August 08, 2013 - 14:52

    I used to respect Mulcair when he was a provincial MP in Quebec because he used to stand up for the Anglo minority and had some principles of fighting for average folks. But then when he left provincial politics and went Federal, he went after Jack Layton's job as soon as he could and sold out all his principles. Now he has become focused on getting into power at all costs.

  • Terence
    August 08, 2013 - 14:28

    My impression of Mulcair is he is a Master Manipulator, just like his predecessor. A master at telling people what they want to hear, and willing to change his tune, depending on the audience and where they are.

  • Ron
    August 08, 2013 - 14:16

    Right on, Tom. It's time for a real change rather than alternating between the two old-line parties. The black and white cats have ruled in Mouseland too long - as Tommy Douglas used to say.

  • Peter M
    August 08, 2013 - 14:06

    Mulcair is brilliant. It is time Canadians moved beyond the arrogant, corrupt Conservatives and the deceitful, scandalous Liberals. It is time for the one Party that gave this country Healthcare, minimum wage and cares for the wilderness and natural resources of this country to get a chance at federal governance. The NPD puts Canadians first; you have seen what the Libs did when they were in power and now you can watch with absolute disgust disgust as Cons sell off enmasse, every resource this country has ever owned!

    • Diane
      August 08, 2013 - 14:53

      Although Tommy Douglas gave Saskatchewan health care, it was the Liberals of Lester Pearson who brought it in nationally. That's just one of the terrible things "the Libs" did. They also brought in employment insurance, Canada Pension Plan, old age security, guaranteed income supplement, student loans, etc. They were also the ones who refused to loosen the banking regulations (as Mr. Harper wanted when he was in Opposition) which kept us relatively secure during the economic downturn. So, although some things done by the Liberals in the past weren't admirable, you have only them to thank for the social benefits and economic success of Canada.

    • Prescient
      August 08, 2013 - 18:10

      I hope Nunatsiavut receives a court injunction to halt this project. Our governments are tone deaf to every other development effecting this project: shale gas changing electricity markets, declining reliance on Holyrood in recent years, implications of NS's UARB ruling, potential impacts from the recent Hydro Quebec court case, etc. I hope that someone in authority hits the pause button before we start to spend (waste) the BIG money.

  • Eli
    August 08, 2013 - 13:49

    "No new taxes! my lips". Seems to me I've heard that song before. That is a song actually but in a different context.

  • Fran Irwin
    August 08, 2013 - 11:14

    Muclair is as obsessed as Layton was with the Liberals saving the most vitriolic of his barbs for them. Makes sense, Trudeau and the Liberals are eating their lunch among every demographic of voter and in every region of Canada.

  • Prescient
    August 08, 2013 - 11:13

    Mulcair accuses the Liberals of being "snake oil salesman" in the same article where the author correctly points out Mulcair has no plan to pay for all of his promises. Mulcair is the snake oil salesman! As for coruption, the NDP has not supported Liberal motions to open up MP expenses to greater scrunity. Also, the NDP were forced to repay illegal political contributions from unions after the Conservatives (of all people) complained to the Chief Electoral Office who investigated and agreed with the Conservatives!

  • syrupdispenser
    August 08, 2013 - 11:04

    Mr.Mulcair, make no mistake its not just the PM they want changed, its how gov't is operated, so make sure you don't get the message confused. I'm not really sure you are any different than the rest of the feeders at the trough.

    • wavy
      August 08, 2013 - 12:11

      Truer words have never been spoken....or, er, typed. Canadians definitely want a change from the oppressive, vindictive policies of the Harper Cons, and the NDP may very well be the party that best represents the kind of change Canadians want. However, I'm not sure Mulcair represents compelling leadership material for the job of PM. Then again, neither does Justin. Confusing political times, for sure.

  • PayingAttn
    August 08, 2013 - 10:58

    Mulcair consistently comes across as very intelligent and competent. The same truly cannot be said for Harper and especially not for Trudeau. Harper talks a big fiscal management game, but his government proves otherwise time and time again. Trudeau just likes the sound of his own voice. His only qualification for party leader is his last name. If his name was Justin Smith, no one would give this guy a first or second thought. I will certainly be voting NDP next time around.

    • david
      August 11, 2013 - 11:38

      Mulcair comers across as a self-centred, narrow-minded, history-ignorant opportunist who would sell his own grandmother for power.

  • Betty
    August 08, 2013 - 10:28

    To Hollinm, What are you talking about, We got a SOCIALIST party. Right here in our own province of N&L. It call the provincial liberal party. On July 5/2013, When they said to Mr Charles Murphy, When he wants to run for the Liberal leadership race.

    • a socialist
      August 08, 2013 - 11:04

      # facepalm # Seriously? The Liberal Party is socialist?! I mean… how far to the right do you have to be to see the business-financed Liberal party as anything close to socialist? Just because they don't call for the restoration of feudalism and the reintroduction of workhouses doesn't make them left-wing. Perhaps if you were one of those crazed Tea Partiers who had just overdosed on Glenn Beck.... My cat has coughed up more politically sophisticated analyses .

    • Wild Rose
      August 08, 2013 - 12:44

      Not in Alberta.

  • Kevin
    August 08, 2013 - 10:17

    I think you are right HOLLINM. He got all this information and comments from being in St. John's !!! Did he travel anywhere out side of the overpass ? Probably not because he doesn't know where else to go or realize that Newfoundland & Labrador is ALOT MORE than just St. John's. Get your head out of the clouds buddy and listen to EVERYONE !!!!!!

  • N
    August 08, 2013 - 09:58

    Saw him at the Regatta yesterday. Walked up and down the lake with a cell phone pressed to his ear. Real 'Man of the People'!! Not enough smoked salmon on the menu for him I guess. Can't wait to see them wiped out on the next federal election.

  • hollinm
    August 08, 2013 - 09:05

    I think Mulcair is living in a fantasy world and is spreading his own propaganda. If Canadians do decide to change governments it will not be for a socialist government who has very limited experience in its caucus and who has no idea how to run a national economy. Mulcair is so arrogant and full himself it makes you want to throw up listening to him.

    • Politically Incorrect
      August 08, 2013 - 10:51

      Hollinm, cheap ad hominem shots aside, the very fact that you think the NDP is socialist shows that you know absolutely nothing about either the NDP or socialism.