I was a delegate to the federal NDP convention this past weekend, which saw delegates decide it’s time to renew the Party’s leadership, meaning we will be heading toward a leadership contest some time over the next 24 months. While many details about timing and process are yet to be determined, I want to take this opportunity to thank Tom Mulcair for his years of extraordinary service to our party and our country.
Standing for election is a difficult task at the best of times. Replacing an NDP icon like the late Jack Layton is an impossible task, but Tom did an admirable job. While we fell short in the last federal election, Tom’s job as “prosecutor-in chief” in Parliament against the extreme right-wing government of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper is almost universally seen as responsible for Harper’s fall in popularity and his ultimate defeat.
Tom’s work in Quebec helped build, for the first time in the NDP’s history, a strong and credible presence in that province. Although many of the seats won in the 2011 breakthrough were lost in last year’s election, the NDP still retains a solid foothold in Quebec, from which we can build a stronger foundation.
So, from all 85,000 CUPE members in British Columbia, I extend my sincere thanks to Tom and wish him all the best in the future. As the party goes about determining the timing of the next leadership election, I am confident that Tom will continue to be an effective representative of the NDP and an articulate advocate for the concerns of working people in Ottawa.
Paul Faoro is President of CUPE BC, representing 85,000 workers in communities across BC.