Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NDP Stunned after Dreams of Governing Shattered by Trudeau Campaign Train

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NDP Stunned after Dreams of Governing Shattered by Trudeau Campaign Train

Article excerpt

NDP begin painful soul-searching exercise

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MONTREAL - With a dramatically smaller caucus of just 44 MPs, Tom Mulcair is set to stay on as NDP leader while his party struggles to figure out exactly how it managed to go from front-runner to electoral flop.

Longtime Ontario MP Charlie Angus, re-elected in the riding of Timmins-James Bay, says the New Democrats will not "jump the gun" by making rash decisions following Monday's devastating outcome.

"The knives don't come out," Angus said in a phone interview. "The New Democrat caucus ... shows its solidarity, we stick together, we work through these things."

It will take a while to sift through the aftermath and figure out what went wrong, he continued.

"We all have to lick our wounds and really assess what happened because it felt so good right up to the night of," Angus said.

"I was talking to experienced campaign managers, people who knew this stuff in their gut who would reassure me -- 'It's feeling good, our ground game is strong.' And wow, something happened."

Party insiders admit they saw an electoral freight train coming about a month ago, but many in the senior leadership refused to believe Justin Trudeau's Liberals were poised to make a historic political revival.

The scope of the NDP loss and the prospect of a long, painful rebuilding process are just beginning to sink in for the party, which formed the official Opposition for the first time ever in 2011 under the leadership of Jack Layton.

High-profile MPs, including deputy leader Megan Leslie, Peter Stoffer, Jack Harris, Paul Dewar, Nycole Turmel, Peggy Nash and Andrew Cash all lost their seats Monday.

"When you talk with people who have given up the last four years, every weekend, every break, really trying to engage the public and really trying to find ways to make democracy matter to people to just get wiped out in a wave, it certainly makes you ponder your place in the universe," Angus said. …

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