HALIFAX - Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae acknowledges that many voters are in an NDP swoon following the selection of Tom Mulcair as leader, but he is urging Liberal supporters to ignore polls and concentrate on rebuilding their shattered party.
Rae says despite a lacklustre showing in some recent polls, the Liberal Party's underlying approach is stronger than the NDP's.
A couple of recent polls put the Liberals in third place, well back of the NDP and governing Conservatives.
"I think there is obviously going to be a certain honeymoon effect for Mr. Mulcair and the NDP after their convention. That's perfectly natural," Rae told reporters at the Nova Scotia Liberal Party's annual general meeting in Halifax on Saturday.
"It just... shows that we have a lot of work to do."
Rae also reiterated that broadening the Liberal membership base and boosting financial contributions will be paramount in rebuilding the shattered party.
"We've got work to do as a party in putting the meat on the bones of our policies, and that's something that obviously is going to need to happen over the next year."
The Liberals lost one seat in Nova Scotia in the 2011 election when New Democrat Robert Chisholm beat out incumbent Mike Savage in Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, a riding he had held since 2004. The Grits hold four of 11 Nova Scotia seats in the House of Commons.
Rae remains cagey on his ambitions on becoming permanent leader, only saying he will not be making any decisions until the rules for the leadership contest are set.
Rae tried to rally Nova Scotia Liberals with a blistering attack on the governing Tories.
He accused the Harper government of being unethical, using International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda's spending scandal as an example.
Last week, Oda agreed to repay almost $3,000 she charged taxpayers for limousine service while staying at a posh hotel in London. Oda also upgraded from a five-star hotel to the even more swanky Savoy while at the conference on international immunizations.
"The cost of one glass of orange juice in this very nice hotel - $16. The cost of taking her from the (Savoy Hotel) to the other hotel - $1000. But the experience for Bev - priceless," Rae told members, evoking a roar of laughter.
Rae slammed the government for deeming that Oda followed the appropriate guidelines when hiring the limousine.
"This is why I say that this is a government that is ethically challenged."
Here are some facts you may not have known about NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair. (CP)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair was Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks</a> in Jean Charest's Liberal government in Quebec. He served in the role from 2003-2006. (CP)
Mulcair married Catherine Pinhas in 1976. She was born in France to a Turkish family of Sephardic Jewish descent. <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1158289--thomas-mulcair-s-wife-catherine-a-psychologist-and-political-confidante?bn=1" target="_hplink">Mulcair has French citizenship through his marriage</a>, as do the couple's two sons. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair left Charest's Liberal government in Quebec </a>after he was offered the position of Minister of Government Services in 2006, an apparent demotion from Minister of the Environment. Mulcair has said his ouster was related to his opposition to a government plan to transfer land in the Mont Orford provincial park to condo developers. (CP)
Mulcair's great-great-grandfather on his mother's side was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor%C3%A9_Mercier" target="_hplink">Honoré Mercier, the ninth premier of Quebec</a>. (Public Domain/Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair was the first New Democrat to win a riding in Quebec during a federal election</a>. He held the riding of Outremont during the 2008 election after first winning the seat in a 2007 by-election. Phil Edmonston was the first New Democrat to win a seat in Quebec, but his win came in a 1990 by-election. Robert Toupin was the very first to bring a Quebec seat to the NDP, but he did it in 1986 by crossing the floor. (Alamy)
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Mulcair" target="_hplink">Mulcair's father Harry Donnelly Mulcair was Irish-Canadian</a> and his mother Jeanne French-Canadian. His father spoke to him in English and his mother in French -- explaining his fluency in both official languages. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Muclair has voted in past French elections, but says that now that he is leader of the Official Opposition <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1157191" target="_hplink">he will not take part in the upcoming French presidential vote</a>. (Thinkstock)
<a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1158289--thomas-mulcair-s-wife-catherine-a-psychologist-and-political-confidante?bn=1" target="_hplink">Mulcair met his future wife at a wedding when they were both teenagers</a>. Catherine was visiting from France. They married two years later when they were both 21. (CP)
<a href="http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/03/16/thomas-mulcair-is-mr-angry/" target="_hplink">Mulcair was given the moniker in a Maclean's headline</a>, but the new leader of the NDP has long been known for his short fuse. In 2005, he was fined $95,000 for defamatory comments he made about former PQ minister Yves Duhaime on TV. The comments included French vulgarity and an accusation that alleged influence peddling would land Duhaime in prison.