Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair Hints 70 per Cent at Weekend Review Enough to Continue

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair Hints 70 per Cent at Weekend Review Enough to Continue

Article excerpt

Mulcair hints 70 per cent enough

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MONTREAL - NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is suggesting a 70 per cent result at his leadership review would enable him to stay on.

Asked on Tuesday about comments by Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff, who said the NDP leader will get less than 60 per cent Sunday, Mulcair told The Canadian Press, "Since the beginning of this whole exercise, I've known what the vote is about.

"I know as leader that I must enjoy good support. And the kind of number evoked by (party president) Rebecca Blaikie (70 per cent) is the kind of number I have felt across the country. As you have just said, there are other people who have other numbers."

The NDP's constitution calls for a secret ballot at the convention, which begins Friday in Edmonton. If more than 50 per cent of the ballots call for new leadership, a vote must be held within a year.

Mulcair said he will "continue to work tirelessly until Sunday in order to have the best possible result."

In an email sent to The Canadian Press after the interview, the NDP leader said he has always refused, as a matter of principle, to provide a specific number.

"What I am asking New Democrats for is a strong endorsement so that we leave the convention united in our fight for a more equal Canada," the email read.

Mulcair has gained the support of Canada's main trade unions but not from Yussuff, who maintains the party needs a new leader.

Yussuff told The Canadian Press he met with Mulcair about three weeks ago and told him: "Absolutely I'm not supporting you."

"The election was a devastating loss and I don't really understand what (Mulcair) will offer from what I heard so far," he said. "All I've heard him say is that he takes responsibility for what happened and he never elaborates."

The NDP had 95 seats going into last year's election and ended up winning 44.

Former New Democrat MP Peggy Nash, who lost her Toronto seat in the October election, has also blasted the campaign performance in a column in Tuesday's Huffington Post.

"Many have commented on the failure of the Leader to answer questions on the opening day of the campaign, the failure to debate unless the PM was present, and generally the failure to inspire Canadians. …

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