NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says that the St. John’s Regatta is very much on his list of must-do summer festivals.
For the second year running, drinking on George Street is part of his itinerary too, although Mulcair laughs and says that’s “only in the interest of good relations with the local population.”
Late Tuesday afternoon, he took some time to sit down and chat with The Telegram in the lobby of the Delta hotel before he headed down to George Street.
Mulcair said that he’s still doing normal political work as he travels — meeting with party activists and local groups — but the festivals are different.
There’s not a lot of policy discussion, Mulcair said; mostly it’s just people wanting to take pictures with their phones.
“Get rid of that bleep-bleep-bleep Harper for us, please. I get that one quite a bit,” Mulcair said, chuckling.
All the same, Mulcair said it’s possible to pick up commonalities during conversations across the country.
“There’s one thing that comes up a lot, and it’s inchoate,” he said. “You have to listen a little bit, but people are worried — they’re worried about their jobs.”
Mulcair said he gets the sense that people feel a lot less secure in their jobs — and parents are often working more jobs than they used to, which further leads to a precarious existence.
That point led to Mulcair talking about the need for better child care, pointing out that it could grow following a similar trajectory as another idea the NDP likes to take credit for — health care.
“I’m always leery about the federal government presuming to come in and tell provinces what to do and how to do it, but what I do think the federal government can do is — like in health care — play a role, help provide the necessary funds (and) have that common vision,” Mulcair said. “We’d work with the provinces and territories, and not tell them what to do.”
Mulcair criticized Harper for avoiding national meetings of premiers, and for ignoring what the Council of the Federation has to say — on expanding the Caranda Pension Plan, for example.
Mulcair is in town today and Thursday. He’s scheduled to spend most of the day down at the Regatta, and then he’s holding a public event talking about ocean sciences issues Thursday morning.