OTTAWA — The NDP’s youth wing is urging delegates at the party’s convention in Edmonton this weekend to dump Thomas Mulcair as leader.
In an interview with The Huffington Post Canada, Paula Krasiun-Winsel, co-chair of the Young New Democrats, said Mulcair isn’t the right person to help rebuild the party.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair waves to supporters, reflected in his vehicle window, during a campaign stop in Quebec City on Friday, September 25, 2015. (Photo: Andrew Vaughan/CP)
While Mulcair has “done a great job” with what he was given and the election result is “certainly not all his fault,” Krasiun-Winsel said Mulcair doesn’t reflect the left-wing values that she and the youth wing executive are hoping the party will embrace during its three-day convention.
“I feel that Tom Mulcair should be replaced, because looking at the election fallout, things that [have happened] since, you can tell that he’s shifting his narrative,” she said in a phone interview from Saskatchewan.
“While I appreciate that he is kind of trying to return to the base of the NDP and pay attention to people who feel a little bit disenfranchised by the whole process, I feel that it can be read as disingenuous …. It’s time for us to consider supporting someone that is new to the leadership, maybe has a different style of leadership and really values the voices of the larger membership of the party and even those of grassroots activists outside the party that support our message but aren’t card-carrying members.”
New narrative is 'raising a few red flags'
Krasiun-Winsel said she feels Mulcair’s new focus on income inequality and poverty alleviation doesn’t match his previous speeches and campaign commitments.
“It’s just so different than what we were hearing during the election. It’s just, I’m not sure where this is coming from necessarily, so it’s raising a few red flags.”
On Wednesday, the NDP’s young wing released a letter encouraging all young New Democrats to vote “to support a new direction, and a new style of leadership.”
Some 100 youth delegates are expected to debate on Thursday a motion calling for a ‘yes’ vote on the question of a leadership review during a pre-convention youth gathering.
"While I appreciate that he is kind of trying to return to the base of the NDP and pay attention to people who feel a little bit disenfranchised by the whole process, I feel that it can be read as disingenuous."
— Paula Krasiun-Winsel, co-chair of Young New Democrats
Mulcair, who is scheduled to address the national convention Sunday morning, has been given up to an hour to try to persuade delegates to vote ‘no’ on the question of whether he should be replaced as leader.
Mulcair has been steadfast in refusing to give a number that he would consider adequate support for him to stay on, but party president Rebecca Blaikie has pegged the number at 70 per cent.
Kraisun-Winsel said the youth wing felt it necessary to speak out after reading Blaikie’s campaign report, which stated that the NDP’s various commissions had been consulted on platform development while the Young New Democrats had not.
Several factors contributed to a general sense of frustration, she said. During the past two years, the NDP youth have been forced to advocate positions that made it “very difficult to connect with young voters” such as opposition to the legalization of marijuana and a non-committal position on fracking.
Those young voters went Liberal because “we weren’t able to connect with them in a way that we wanted to, and we don’t feel that the party necessarily allowed us to fulfil our mandate in helping them create a platform that would connect with young voters.”
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