It turns out Thomas Mulcair can say the words "Justin Trudeau."
He just needs a reason to.
That was the message —and dig — the NDP leader threw at Trudeau at the conclusion of his party's caucus retreat in Saskatoon on Wednesday.
A reporter asked Mulcair why he chose not to mention Trudeau by name in his speech to caucus, in which he ripped Tories and Liberals as two corrupt peas in an entitled pod and mentioned Prime Minister Stephen Harper several times.
"Well, I think that if Mr. Harper is part of the discourse then we'll mention him and if Justin Trudeau is part of something that's actually been done, we'll talk about him," he said. "You have to point to something Justin Trudeau has ever done for me to be able to mention him."
But Mulcair wasn't done throwing shots at Trudeau.
"If and when he does do something — but he's already advised you he won’t have much to say between now and the next election — we'll of course talk about that," he said.
Mulcair added that Liberals have a history of "getting leaders who are just supposed to stand there and repeat platitudes and say things they think Canadians want to hear." New Democrats, he said, will talk about serious, concrete things.
After HuffPost’s Althia Raj tweeted about Mulcair twice using the Grit leader's name, Trudeau responded that the NDP leader must not think he's Lord Voldemort after all.
Voldemort, of course, is the antagonist in the "Harry Potter" series who is so evil he is often referred to, simply, as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."
In a recent interview with HuffPost, Mulcair opened up about why his party will run negative ads against the Trudeau Liberals in the 2015 election.
He also explained why he doesn't like to say Trudeau's name.
"You might have noticed I’ve never mentioned him," Mulcair said. "I’m talking about the Liberal party as a structure and the past being a predictor of the future."
While Mulcair did have some nice things to say about Harper, whom he called determined and hard-working, he said Trudeau hasn't done much in his career.
"I’ve never worked with the guy," Mulcair said. "I mean, he's shown up in the House very infrequently. When I've heard his speeches they have not been memorable."
Mulcair also seemed to take issue with the suggestion that Trudeau, 41, is young.
"A lot of people refer to him as being very young, but he’s going to be 44 at the next election," he said. (Trudeau will actually be 43 at the next election, if it is, as expected, held in the fall of 2015).
The NDP leader also said there is a big difference between his career history and the manner in which he was raised, suggesting Trudeau may not have had to work as hard to earn his position.
"When I was his age, I had already been elected to the National Assembly after spending six years as part of the Office des professions du Québec and having worked as an attorney in the Quebec justice department, so we all have different backgrounds and experiences," Mulcair said. "I also come from a family of 10 children. Nobody gave me anything, and everything I’ve had I’ve had to work for myself. And so, we are very different in that regard as well."
NDP MPs said this week that they aren't worried about the resurgent Liberals or their party's slumping poll numbers.
Hamiltion MP David Christopherson told reporters that Trudeau — eldest son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau — is benefiting from his last name.
With previous files and files from The Canadian Press
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