Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Despite Crushing Leadership Vote, Mulcair's Plan to Linger Raises NDP Eyebrows

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Despite Crushing Leadership Vote, Mulcair's Plan to Linger Raises NDP Eyebrows

Article excerpt

NDP MPs divided over Mulcair's long goodbye

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OTTAWA - The rifts exposed by the NDP's divisive non-confidence vote in Tom Mulcair's leadership deepened Monday as some New Democrat MPs questioned his intention to stay at the helm until a successor is chosen.

The new divide emerged as shell-shocked MPs returned to the House of Commons, still struggling to absorb the fact that delegates at a weekend convention voted Sunday to send Mulcair packing.

Some MPs welcomed Mulcair's plan to remain leader for up to two years until a replacement is chosen.

But others doubted that would be palatable to grassroots New Democrats, given that just 48 per cent of convention delegates supported Mulcair continuing as leader; 52 per cent voted to hold a leadership convention to replace him.

"In my view, you know, it's going to be very difficult for Mr. Mulcair to stay on until our next permanent leader is chosen in a year and a half," said Vancouver MP Don Davies.

"We invited Tom to make his case as to why he should lead us and he got 48 per cent and, you know, numbers are real."

The NDP constitution stipulates that a leadership race must be held within a year but the convention voted to extend that to up to two years, although insiders suggest it won't drag on beyond about 18 months.

Davies said he'd support Mulcair remaining leader for "a significant period of time" but not as much as 18 months or more.

Pierre-Luc Dusseault, MP for Sherbrooke, Que., said he's not sure if Mulcair should remain at the helm.

"I have not made up my mind yet on this question," he said. "It will be a discussion that we will have with the caucus members to see if that would be the ideal situation or if it should be something else."

Montreal MP Alexandre Boulerice said as far as he's concerned, Mulcair can stay as long as he wants. But he suggested the rest of the 44-member NDP caucus may not agree.

"What will happen in a year, it's impossible to say. It will depend on how comfortable Mr. Mulcair is with doing that job for a while, on how comfortable the caucus is with this too," he said in an interview.

"I am convinced that for the coming weeks it's an excellent idea, at least until the end of the session in June, it's an excellent idea that Mr. …

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