The Senate scandal helping NDP leader Thomas Mulcair gets his groove back

·Politics Reporter

Amid all the Senate scandals, an interesting thing is happening on Parliament Hill: Thomas Mulcair, it appears, is shining.

Mulcair's performance during his first year as NDP leader was mediocre at best.

"I think he's in a tough spot," Conservative political consultant Jim Ross told Yahoo! Canada News in March, on Mulcair's first anniversary as leader.

"His actions lately are those of a nervous leader playing defense and defending his base. He's worried about progressives voting for Justin [Trudeau], so he's fighting against Canadian economic interests in DC. He's worried about Quebec nationalists, so he's pushing legislation to make it easier for Quebec to separate.

"He might be bringing discipline and a more modern organization to the Party, but it's not helping him defend his base and it's certainly not helping him reach out to mainstream Canadians."

[ Related: Thomas Mulcair's so so first year as NDP leader ]

Enter Senator Mike Duffy and the Senate expense scandals and we have a brand new Mulcair.

With the Senate, he's found an issue that helps the NDP reach out to mainstream Canadians. In recent weeks, they've taken advantage of the growing anti-Senate sentiment and put forward motions to abolish the Senate and stop funding the Senate.

In the House, Mulcair has been masterful, acting as a litigator asking Stephen Harper — or his replacement du jour — short and direct questions.

[ Related: NDP leader Thomas Mulcair shines in parliamentary duel with Stephen Harper ]

And, in scrums, he actually looks like he's having fun.

The media is noticing Mulcair's new persona.

"Tom Mulcair has been described by various political types, particularly his opponents, as "Angry Tom" and "Mr. Angry," a reference to his apparent temper," Maclean’s wrote as a caption to the YouTube video above.

"We've seen a different Mulcair since the Wright-Duffy affair broke in mid-May. The opposition leader looks relaxed, calm and determined during Question Period."

And here's what the Toronto Star's Tim Harper has to say about Mulcair's resurgence:

The benefactor of the extraordinary Conservative turmoil of recent days is Mulcair, who has had arguably his best two weeks since becoming party leader in 2012.

He has more than a metaphorical spring in his step. He actually cut a bit of a dance step while meeting reporters in the Commons foyer Tuesday.

To the surprise of many, over the past couple of weeks, Mulcair has actually stolen the spotlight from Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

It will be interesting to see if he can keep it up on non-Senate issues and whether or not it will affect the polls.

For now, however, it's time for 'Mulcair-mania.'

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