John Geddes (Maclean’s):
The cruel truth for Tom Mulcair is that his NDP started the election campaign of 2015 leading in many polls and ended up, when the votes were counted on Oct. 19, in third place. As a tough year drew to a close, Mulcair spoke with Maclean’s Ottawa Bureau Chief John Geddes. Excerpts of that interview follow.
Q: There are early question marks surrounding the Trudeau government on issues like how quickly they are bringing refugees to Canada and what sort of deficit they might post next year. But there’s also an atmosphere of uplift and hopefulness, which I’m guessing you, and others on the progressive side of the spectrum, wouldn’t want to lean too hard against.
A: Don’t forget: a change of tone has to be followed by a change of substance. I was in Paris [for the UN conference on climate change]. I did find it a little bit boastful to say “Canada is back,” equating the return of the Liberals with the return of Canada, but I did note there was a much more hopeful tone, a much more helpful tone, and I encourage that. I was very hopeful that that change of tone would translate into something. But then we started getting “Give us a few months, we’re going to talk to the provinces.”
The only thing that will matter in 2016 is, did Canada produce fewer greenhouse gases than we did in 2015? In 2017, will we produce fewer still again? We’ve seen nothing to lead Canadians to believe that. I’m hopeful, but I haven’t seen anything yet that gives me confidence that this is going to happen.
Q: You’ve been asked about your future. Are you determined to stay on as NDP leader? If you are, have there been moments you wavered?
A: There are moments, when I’m talking to a defeated colleague who I would still love to have standing shoulder-to-shoulder with me in the House. I feel that weight. I know I’m the only person responsible. The short answer to your first question is, since the day of the election, despite my sadness at the result, knowing that we came up short—you know what?—we’re the New Democratic Party and it’s up to the members. I continue to work hard and tirelessly across Canada.