Asked on Tuesday about comments by Canadian Labour Congress president Hassan Yussuff, who said the NDP leader will get less than 60 per cent Sunday, Mulcair told The Canadian Press, "Since the beginning of this whole exercise, I've known what the vote is about.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Karl Belanger, national director of the New Democratic Party, share a laugh as they walk to the Progress summit in Ottawa, Friday April 1, 2016. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)
"It hasn't always been clear for everyone who's analyzed the situation. But I know what's happening Sunday.
"I know as leader that I must enjoy good support. And the kind of number evoked by (party president) Rebecca Blaikie (70 per cent) is the kind of number I have felt across the country. As you have just said, there are other people who have other numbers."
The NDP's constitution calls for a secret ballot at the convention. If more than 50 per cent of the ballots call for new leadership, a vote must be held within a year.
"Since the beginning of this whole exercise, I've known what the vote is about."
Mulcair said he will "continue to work tirelessly until Sunday in order to have the best possible result."
In an email sent to The Canadian Press after the interview, the NDP leader said he has always refused, as a matter of principle, to provide a specific number.
"What I am asking New Democrats for is a strong endorsement so that we leave the convention united in our fight for a more equal Canada," the email read.
Canadian Labour Congress chief calls for change
He said in the interview he believes he has the support of major labour federations, even though Yussuff says the party needs a new leader.
Yussuff told The Canadian Press he met with Mulcair about three weeks ago and told him: "Absolutely I'm not supporting you."
"The election was a devastating loss and I don't really understand what (Mulcair) will offer from what I heard so far," he said. "All I've heard him say is that he takes responsibility for what happened and he never elaborates.''
The NDP had 95 seats going into last year's election and ended up winning 44.
Mulcair's prowess in Commons didn't 'make much of a difference'
Yussuff added that the NDP has a difficult task ahead in order to win back the progressive space in Canadian politics now occupied by the Liberals.
"I have enormous respect for (Mulcair) with regards to his performance in the House of Commons," Yussuff said. "But it didn't make much of a difference ultimately when the electorate went to vote. And by the way this isn't about Tom -- this is about the future of the party.''
Mulcair received support from five union leaders at the end of March.
The unions in question are the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the National Union of Public and General Employees, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the United Steelworkers.
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