Mulcair's Canada includes a Quebec that 'feels good'
Published Sunday, December 23, 2012 10:41AM EST
Opposition and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said that looking forward, his party will present a "very clear choice" to Canadians as it works to win support from the ruling Conservatives.
In an interview with CTV Question Period host Kevin Newman, Mulcair said he will be working to show Canadians the NDP can effectively manage the economy and form the next government.
"Our adversary in the next election is the Conservative Party of Canada, there’s no question about that," he said.
Mulcair listed a number of items he feels Conservatives have wrongly supported such as raising the minimum retirement age for Canadians by two years and withdrawing billions in healthcare transfers without debate.
The NDP offers Canadians an alternative, he said.
Mulcair did have some kind words for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, saying that Harper’s biggest strengths are that he is "very structured and very determined."
But these are also among Harper’s weaknesses, said Mulcair.
"Since he is so structured he likes the structure and control around him and they never admit that they’re wrong," he said, listing the now-scrapped sole-source deal to purchase a fleet of F-35s and the recently approved Chinese takeover of Nexen as examples of Conservative errors.
On the F-35s, Mulcair said that once it became clear that they "made a mistake" the Conservatives should have "just come clean."
When asked about Liberal Leader candidate Justin Trudeau, Mulcair said that he doesn’t think about him much.
"Whoever becomes the leader of the Liberal Party will be their seventh leader in the last nine years," he said, adding that he’d "let the Liberals sort themselves out."
However, he later added that he never under estimates an adversary.
"That’s the biggest mistake you can make in politics," he said.
During the interview, Mulcair stood by his party’s position that a bare majority of 50 per cent plus one for secession would be sufficient to begin negotiations between Quebec and Canada, but stressed that the process must be clear.
Mulcair said a referendum to begin negotiations “demands subjective clarity,” including a clear question and a clear process, with no room for cheating or voter fraud.
"As long as all the subjective elements are there from the question to the process and everything else, the side that wins, wins," said Mulcair. "All that opens is the obligation to negotiate and that negotiating power is based on how strong your mandate is."
The Quebec MP said he is working to build an inclusive Canada where "Quebec feels good" and the rest of the country understands "how much of a benefit and what an enriching part it is of our great country."
Mulcair also described his life growing up in a large family and how it has shaped him.
As the second eldest of 10 children he said he learned how to take responsibility at an early age, getting his first job in a clothing factory when he was just 14-years-old. He also had to look after his siblings from when he was young.
Coming from a large family made him competitive but it also forced him to cooperate, said the father of two.
Mulcair noted that he also developed the skill to work and concentrate while surrounded by "unbelievable noise."
"Nobody can figure out how I can do that but you just have to learn to shut off the noise," he said.