Mulcair has my support as next NDP leader

This Saturday (March 24), more than 130,000 NDP members will be voting for a new leader of the Official Opposition and our party.
We have a great slate of seven strong candidates, but one stands above all others in my opinion and would make the best prime minister. I will be casting my vote for Thomas Mulcair.
When I say that we have a great slate of candidates, I mean it. Our seven contenders are second-to-none. I’m certain each will be stronger than any who will stand for the Liberal Party when they get around to choosing their next leader, and as a group are stronger than Harper’s front bench by a quite a margin.
New Democrats have every reason to be proud and optimistic about our future with so many excellent candidates ready to lead our movement and our country.
While it’s true that I believe we have the strongest possible slate of leadership candidates, it is equally true that Thomas Mulcair is the strongest of the group with the best policies and credentials to become Canada’s first NDP prime minister.
I came to this conclusion early on after watching him perform day in and day out as deputy leader since my election in 2008, and thankfully more and more people within our ranks also are coming to the same conclusion.
Tom is an incredibly strong performer in the House of Commons and on the election trail. There are numerous clips on YouTube for anyone who is interested in watching him get the better of the Conservatives on everything from housing, pensions, our massive federal deficit, and pay equity and women’s rights.
Tom has excelled as a political organizer, but especially so since Jack made him his Quebec lieutenant back in 2007.
We all expected that our hard work would pay off at the polls, but Tom’s hard work in Quebec and a solid campaign message brought 58 new seats into the New Democrat family, which is more than the party had ever held nationally prior to the 2011 campaign.
When it comes to issues confronting families in Northwestern Ontario, Tom again stands apart from the other candidates.
We have had several conversations, prior to and during this leadership campaign, about the high cost of living, the need to balance resource development with environmental concerns, and to resolve First Nation land claims in a timely and co-operative manner—and he has my complete confidence to lead our party and country on these issues.
In case you are wondering, I’m not alone in believing that Tom is the best choice for Northern Ontario.
Former Ontario NDP leader and Kenora-Rainy River MPP Howard Hampton, his wife, Shelley Martel, the former MPP for Nickel Belt, former NDP MP for Thunder Bay-Nipigon Ernie Epp, and my current caucus colleague, Glenn Thibeault, the MP for Sudbury, are strong supporters of Thomas’ candidacy, as well.
Perhaps the most important consideration for me, though, is Tom’s potential to unite Canadians behind a progressive political party and to make the defeat of Stephen Harper a reality in the next election.
Tom knows the issues of Quebec particularly well, and will be able to hold the vast majority of the seats that we were able to seize from the separatist Bloc Quebecois in the last federal election.
He also has recognized—rightly—that the interests of Western Canada must be better appreciated and brought back into the New Democrat fold. As Tom puts it, the NDP has lots of trees but no roots in Quebec and deep roots but no trees in the Prairies.
In short, Tom is a proven leader who knows how to unite people from all walks of life and build a strong national presence for the NDP in every region of the country.
Because of this, I’m confident that Tom will be able to balance of interests of all Canadians, lead New Democrats into government, and lead Canada to a more inclusive, co-operative, and prosperous future.

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