Joanna Smith (The Toronto Star)
New Democrat Leader Thomas Mulcair has decided to stay on in his role as the party — and much smaller caucus — regroups and rebuilds following a disappointing electoral result.
“He’s in it for the long haul,” his spokesman, George Smith, told the Star after Mulcair spent the past two days speaking to both elected and defeated NDP MPs as he works to rebuild his team.
“Expect to see him in the House of Commons,” Smith said of Mulcair, who was re-elected to his Montreal riding of Outremont Monday night with about 44 per cent of the vote. “Expect him to hold the new government’s feet to the fire.”
The NDP went into the Oct. 19 election with 95 incumbent candidates — more than half of them elected in the Orange Wave that swept Quebec in the 2011 election under the late Jack Layton. They came out with just 44 seats — 16 of them in Quebec.
Meanwhile, several Quebec media outlets reported Wednesday night that Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe had decided to quit politics following his election defeat — a decision he is to announce in a news conference Thursday afternoon, the Star’s Allan Woods reported Wednesday evening.
A spokesperson for the party refused to comment on the reports.
The veteran sovereigntist politician first retired in 2011 after he failed to win in his Montreal riding of Laurier—Sainte-Marie but was compelled to retake the reins of the Bloc last summer when it became clear the party was headed for a poor showing in this week’s election under Mario Beaulieu, who was selected to lead the party in 2014.
With 10 seats in the Commons but only 20.6 per cent of the votes in the province of Quebec, this election represents the Bloc’s worst showing since it first contested an election in 1993.
Beaulieu was among those elected on Monday, but La Presse reported that newly elected Bloc MP Rhéal Fortin would serve as interim leader while the party organizes the contest to choose a new leader.