Mulcair knew he wasn't about to make a decision about his political future on election night, but he also knew he would have to face a process of reflection in the aftermath. That, he admitted, was very difficult on a personal level. "It takes a while to take stock of something like that and to decide what you want to do," he said. "You can talk to people around you, you can talk to your family, but it's something where you have to look deep inside." Rank-and-file New Democrats are still soul-searching as they prepare to gather in Edmonton for the party's convention next month, where they will decide if Mulcair should stay on as leader.
"It takes a while to take stock of something like [the federal election loss] and to decide what you want to do."
Mulcair speaks to the media following the second leaders' debate in Calgary, Alberta, Sept. 17, 2015. (Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The meetings have put him in small rooms where he can better connect with ordinary party members — something he admits he didn't have much chance to do when the party was the official Opposition. "This, for me, has been a tonic." Mulcair said he intends to stay in contact with the people he's been meeting, adding the grassroots will carry the party forward after the convention. "I've been ... picking up the phone and phoning people ahead of visits as I've gone across the country, ahead of Edmonton," he said. "Talking to people that I've met, talking to people from different ridings ... That's given me energy." The NDP leader also appears to have more physical energy — he said he has been hitting the pool five times a week and seems focused on eating well.
"This, for me, has been a tonic."
Mulcair has been trying to convince NDP members he is still lead them beyond October's federal election results. (Photo: CP)
Mulcair described how, while working recently on a provincial byelection campaign in Calgary, he was confronted by a man named Sully fearful of a poverty-stricken retirement after a lifetime working as a chef. "You know, there are these moments in your political career where you just sort of go, 'That's why we fight,'" he said. "It's for this guy, to make sure there is a decent retirement for Sully and the Sullys of this world. He is going to live in poverty because the deck is stacked against him." —Follow @kkirkup on Twitter
"You know, there are these moments in your political career where you just sort of go, 'That's why we fight.'"
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