Former NDP leader breaks down parties' chances heading into election campaign
Daniel J. Rowe, CTV Montreal
Published Wednesday, August 28, 2019 2:16PM EDT
With the federal election campaign ready to hit full swing, former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair breaks down the case for each party's chances as the writ's drop approaches.
Quebec remains a battleground province, with the Conservatives trying to avoid tying themselves in knots, as when lieutenant Alain Rayes comment's on abortion seemed to contradict his leader Andrew Scheer.
"The Conservatives need a breakthrough in Quebec to win the election," said Mulcair. "And the Liberals have been doing an amazingly good job of portraying Mr. Scheer as somebody who is so right-wing that people shouldn't even think of voting for him here in Quebec."
Economically, Mulcair added, Quebecers are more close to the Conservative platform, but when it comes to a woman's right to choose, the province clearly feels "the government should stay out."
"Mr. Scheer keeps trying to have his cake and eat it too," said Mulcair. "He keeps saying a Conservative government wouldn't open the abortion debate, but down here they keep signalling to their base, you can tell people we'll bring in a private-members bill."
Mulcair sees Scheer as stuck between those in the west, who want to see the abortion debate reopened, and those in the east, who have no interest in reopening the debate.
As for his former party, Mulcair feels his NDP heir Jagmeet Singh needs to regain losses to the Greens in BC that saw Elizabeth May's party surge after Singh's comments supporting the liquid natural gas pipeline.
"Mr. Singh has a chance to hit reset in this campaign, to get back to his base, to talk about climate change, and give the impression anyway that he believes the environment is top of mind and that he can act on it," said Mulcair.
As for the Bloc Quebecois, Mulcair is sceptical of a resurgence from the sovereigntist party.
"I don't see it at all," he said. "I don't believe that the Bloc has any chance of increasing its current seat count. In fact, I'm sensing that it's going to go back."
The Conservatives lead the Liberals by a wide margin in terms of fundraising, showing the lasting effect the party's former leader continues to have on Canadian politics.
"It's an indicator that Stephen Harper did one incredibly good thing for his party, which was set up a database and system of fundraising that is unparalleled in Canadian politics," said Mulcair. "The Liberals are in power, they have a massive majority and they're still being out-fundraised, non-stop, every year, every quarter by the Conservatives."