POLITICS

Tom Mulcair 'Distressed' By Tension Between Liberals And NDP

11/24/2014 11:20 EST | Updated 01/24/2015 05:59 EST
With less than a year until the next federal election, tensions are running high between the two opposition parties.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair told the The Early Edition's Rick Cluff he sometimes feels "like a well-read National Geographic running against the cover of Vanity Fair," as he tries to win votes from Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party.

Mulcair made the remark while in Vancouver to tout his plan for $15 a day childcare.

Here is an abridged version of that conversation:

What's your reaction to the protests underway at Burnaby Mountain against Kinder Morgan's proposed TransMountain Pipeline?

I'm not surprised, because that's what happens when you remove the public from the public consultation process. It's almost as if the companies are cruising for a bruising, they seem to not get it, they don't understand that in this day and age, the public has to be on side.

So how would you improve the pipeline approval process?

The economic, the social and the environmental have to be looked at at the same time. That's the essence of sustainable development.

Why make affordable childcare one of the central planks in your platform?

Canadian families are just not making it. You have young people finishing their studies with massive debt. They can't even decide to have a family with this sort of constraint, and it's always women who have to make the tough choice.

How do you pay for it?

You pay for it like you pay for any other government program, you make it a priority.

Allegations of misconduct against two Liberal MPs on the Hill have created huge controversy. Do you think this situation has become politicized?

When things did start to move forward, on condition of keeping their identity confidential, the two victims accepted, at the request of the Liberal whip to meet with them. Unfortunately that wasn't respected and they've been living under a great deal of stress since then.

How do you stop the parties from leveraging this for political gain?

Since the beginning, our only concern has been to take care of the victims, to offer them the support and the time they need to deal with it.

There's a lot of tension between the Liberal and the NDP camps on the Hill because of this.

I think that we've been watching this with some distress.

Meanwhile, in the news this morning, your party is being accused of trying to persuade former staffers not to file a complaint against elected members who employed them.

The only employees in the Parliament of Canada who have any recourse are the NDP's, because they have a union. if you were in any other party, the Liberals or the Conservatives, you would have been fired, you'd never hear about it because there is no recourse.

You've had disappointing showings in by-elections of late. Are you concerned by those results?

I've been at this for too long to believe that by-election results dictate the result of the general election. Sometimes I do feel like a well-read National Geographic running against the cover of Vanity Fair, but I think that next year, people are going to be voting for a Prime Minister.

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