If you don’t already know who Tom Mulcair is, you may not understand why I’m asking, “Who’s Afraid of Tom Mulcair?”
OK, going forward, I’ll assume everyone is up to speed, Mr. Mulcair is the new leader of Canada’s Federal NDP.
Not long ago, Mr. Mulcair got out his paddle and stirred up the Harper Government’s status quo, by questioning tar sands development. Paraphrasing, he asked:
- why isn’t tar sands development following a sustainable growth model
- why are we allowing multinational oil and gas corporations to, “use our air, our soil and our water as an unlimited, free dumping ground”
- why have we allowed the tar sands’s economy to artificially inflate our dollar, destroying thousands of manufacturing jobs and jeopardizing many more
- why are we allowing Canada’s balanced economy to come under threat?
Since Mr. Mulcair asked his questions, you can’t open a paper or a political website without seeing an article about Dutch disease. I love it, and I enjoy the dialogues that his questions have generated. Bluntly it’s about time, there was some serious discussion. Prior to asking his questions, the multinational oil and gas corporations were having their way with Canada:
- multiple tar sands developments proceeding at full speed
- new pipelines planned or underway
- environmental laws changing or changed
- significant threats to environmentalists
- muzzling scientists with views unfavourable to Big Oil
- more foreign, cheap-labour, workers on their way to Canada
Now back to my question,
Q: Who’s afraid of Tom Mulcair?
A: Federal and Provincial Liberals and perhaps the Harper Government
The Federal Liberals have been humiliating themselves by taking every opportunity to denigrate and minimize the NDP. When I worked as a Medical Doctor, I always tried to remember,
“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
Sadly, the Liberals are currently perceived, as neglecting Canadians, while pursuing their own self-interests. It doesn’t look like they care.
Provincially, the Liberal Premiere of BC, went so far as to call Tom Mulcair’s ideas “Goofy”. Although she succeeded in getting herself a lot of press attention, that scrutiny only directed consideration to her precarious position in the upcoming election. I’m betting Adrian Dix, the provincial NDP leader is going to win that one.
Finally, the Harper Government is expecting Tom Mulcair’s popularity to wane, the same way Michael Ignatief’s did, so they’re not nervous yet, but it won’t be much longer until their nerves begin to fray. They’re definitely not as confident as they pretend they are. They’re well aware that a very significant majority of Canadians did not vote for them in the last election or, for that matter, ever.
I’m betting Tom Mulcair’s popularity will grow as Canadians discover how much he cares about Canada.
Afterthought: My hunch is that multinational oil and gas corporations aren’t afraid of anyone (any individual), but they’re understandably afraid of everyone (a majority of us). Tom Mulcair and the NDP are on the verge of a populist breakthrough across Canada and I’m sure that’s causing the corporations, more than a little, concern. What if they actually had to dig into their massive profits to fund the ‘polluter pays’ model that the NDP champions?