“The only way to create sustainable work is to remove the government from the back of private enterprise.”
No, those words didn’t come from Conservative leadership hopeful Maxime Bernier but rather Thomas Mulcair, when he was a Quebec Liberal at the National Assembly in 2000.
Another video in which Mulcair praises the economic policies of Britain’s former Conservative prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, has come to light just as the federal NDP is about to begin its national convention in Edmonton.
Mulcair has a tough job on his hands this weekend. He must convince party members that he can maintain the social democratic traditions of the NDP and lead them towards the next federal election in 2019, while facing yet another leadership vote.
But back when he was a provincial member of the Quebec legislature, Mulcair spoke out in favour of a bill that sought to privatize the Société d’Investissement Jeunesse, which offers personal loan guarantees to help business projects by young entrepreneurs.
“We’re not saying that they shouldn’t exist. State subsidies in the economy can generate jobs. What we are saying is that in Quebec, we are copying a model from post-war Europe. We could think of Labour in England, we could think of Sweden. We are copying models that have not worked.
“With the arrival of Margaret Thatcher, in England, they tended to privatize. That was some 20 years ago. Today, England is experiencing an extraordinary economic boom, because the only way to create sustainable work, is to remove the government from the back of private enterprise.
“Here, in Quebec, we do the opposite,” Mulcair had said.
'There is nothing new here'
Following the debate, the Liberal critic went on to mock then finance minister Bernard Landry who “loves so much cutting ribbons” that he hands out subsidies who whoever asks for them.
Reached Thursday evening, Mulcair’s spokesman George Smith, noted this was an old video similar to one that had surfaced during the 2015 election campaign when Mulcair could be seen boasting about the “winds of liberty and liberalism in the market” during Thatcher’s time.
“There is nothing new here. This old issue was raised during the campaign. Mr. Mulcair will continue fighting for a fairer, more equal Canada,” Smith wrote in an email.
Translation by Althia Raj