Former Quebec environment minister goes federal with New Democratic Party
Less than two months after announcing he would not seek reelection as MNA for Chomedey, former Environment minister Thomas Mulcair has resumed his political career, accepting an invitation to carry the NDP banner in the next federal election.
Mulcair is back
The announcement made by NDP leader Jack Layton on Friday morning in Montreal, with Mr. Mulcair at his side. The good news for NDPers comes after serious negotiations between Mr. Mulcair and the NDP strategists who set out to bring the veteran politician on board immediately after it was learned the Quebec Liberal and his leader, Jean Charest, had parted ways.
Despite pronouncements by Mr. Mulcair that "Once a Liberal, always a Liberal", as told to Courrier Laval Weekly News during and after the recent Quebec election, it was widely believed that Mr. Mulcair was ready to make a leap, it was just not known in whose waiting arms he would end up leaping since he was being wooed and courted by both the Harper's Conservatives and Layton's NDPers.
The ground work for Mr. Mulcair's association with the NDP was probably laid last autumn when the three-term MNA spoke at an NDP policy convention, addressing NDPers on his favourite subject – the environment.
As predicted in this newspaper in late February, it was not long before Mr. Mulcair officially returned to the political arena. The fifty-something public figure who grew up in Chomedey made no secret of his love of politics and public service. "My great grandfather was Honoré Mercier (Quebec Premier of the 1880s), so what else could you expect from me," Thomas Mulcair was fond of saying to this reporter.
It is yet to be determined as to where Mr. Mulcair will run in the next federal election expected in less than 18 months, given the minority status of the Harper Goverenment, but it certainly appears that the NDP has a new Quebec leader around whom it can build a serious run at getting some members elected.
It would come as no surprise if Mr. Mulcair were to choose Laval as his power base since he had been an extremely popular MNA for Chomedey for 13 years and has a strong team of supporters in the multiethnic region of Laval. Asked if he had severed his ties with the Quebec Liberal Party, Mr. Mulcair said, "Never say never, but I've decided to turn the page."
The NDP has never elected an MP in a general election although the party did have former consumer advocate Phil Edmonston representing a South Shore riding between in the early, 1990s having won the seat in a by-election.