Thomas Mulcair to host NDP ‘family reunion’ in Ottawa next week

Andy Radia
Canada Politics
January 10, 2013

You might call it a family reunion, of sorts.

According to La Presse, provincial NDP leaders from across the country will descend upon Ottawa on Tuesday, for a summit with federal party chief Thomas Mulcair.

The meeting, which will include opposition leaders as well as Premiers Greg Sellinger (Manitoba) and Darrell Dexter (Nova Scotia), is expected to be part strategic planning session and part PR exercise.

The French-language newspaper notes that officials have even prepared a presentation for the group showing that, out of all the provincial parties, New Democrats have the best financial record over the past 30 years.

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"The NDP comes first of all political parties. [They] filed a budget surplus in 46 per cent of years they exercised power," notes the article.

"The Conservative Party (including the Saskatchewan Party) came second with an average of 40 per cent and the Liberal Party, third with 25.7 per cent."

Such a meeting is not the norm: federal party leaders don't often convene summits with their provincial counterparts.

But this one is  probably a good idea — for a number of reasons.

The meeting offers an opportunity for leaders like B.C.'s Adrian Dix and Ontario's Andrea Horwath to get some pointers from NDP premiers who have won elections.

Moreover, poll after poll shows that the economy is still the ballot box issue for most Canadians. If Mulcair can re-brand his party as a party of good financial managers, then he goes a long way in solidifying his chances of winning the 2015 election.

Former party president Brian Topp says it's about building the party's credibility.

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"This is another example of Tom Mulcair and his team being smart," Topp told Yahoo! Canada News.

"The NDP has a deep, credible, practical, progressive governing tradition in many provinces. Highlighting this helps build the federal party's growing credibility, as the best way for Canadians to replace the Harper government with a better one."