POLITICS

Thomas Mulcair's Autobiography To Hit Shelves 3 Months Before Election

05/21/2015 03:03 EDT | Updated 05/21/2016 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - Tom Mulcair has written an autobiography scheduled for release just three months before Canadians go to the polls.

His memoirs, entitled Strength of Conviction, are intended to help voters get to know the NDP leader before they cast their ballots in the federal election scheduled for October.

Kirk Howard, president of Dundurn Press, which will publish the English version of the book, says the autobiography tells the story of Mulcair's life and the values that have shaped his political career.

The book is slated for release on Aug. 1.

A French version, published by Michelle Tisseyre Editeur, is to be released at the same time.

Tisseyre says Mulcair's political career is a matter of record but "his personal journey is less well known" — a void the memoirs are designed to fill.

Mulcair has been acclaimed by no less than former prime minister Brian Mulroney as the most effective Opposition leader in almost 50 years.

But polls suggest Canadians are much less familiar with the NDP leader than with other major federal leaders.

Stephen Harper is a known commodity, having served as prime minister for almost 10 years, And Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau enjoys a quasi-celebrity status, having grown up in the public eye as the son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

The NDP has been positioning Mulcair as a principled and experienced leader who shares the concerns of average Canadians — a message his autobiography appears designed to underline.

According to Howard, it will chronicle his early years growing up in a middle-class family of 10 children and his 12 years spent as a provincial Liberal politician in Quebec.

It will recount how he quit as Quebec's environment minister in 2006 rather than acquiesce to private development in a provincial park and how he subsequently accepted late NDP leader Jack Layton's invitation to become his Quebec lieutenant.

Mulcair won a beachhead for the NDP in Quebec, snatching the Montreal riding of Outremont from the Liberals in a 2007 byelection. In 2008, he became the first New Democrat to win a Quebec seat in a general election, and in 2011 he helped propel the orange wave that swept the province.

Layton died several months after the party's historic 2011 breakthrough; Mulcair was elected to succeed him in March 2012.

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