NDP supporters at McGill and Concordia say Thomas Mulcair has to resign if the party is to remain relevant in Canadian politics.
New Democrats at the two universities issued a joint open letter Tuesday as a response to the open letter published earlier in the day in Le Devoir and the Toronto Star, calling for a more softly worded "renewal" of the NDP party.
They said they welcomed that letter, "however, we worry that it does not go far enough in expressing the widespread anger and despair among New Democrats, particularly our party's youth."
"We choose not to mince our words," NDP McGill and NDP Concordia stated. "If the NDP wants to remain relevant in Canadian politics, Thomas Mulcair must not remain as party leader."
They said under Mulcair's leadership, the party abandoned core NDP values "in a misguided attempt to appeal to centrist voters."
"Their misguided choices meant that students — on campuses that have some of the most progressive young people in the country — were forced to argue against the legalization of marijuana, against higher taxes for Canada's wealthy individuals, against massive investments in infrastructure and youth employment, as well as both for and against the Energy East pipeline."
"We often felt more liberal than the Liberal Party," they added.
Bernie Sanders 'making waves'
The students pointed to Bernie Sanders and the waves he is making in the U.S. with his left-wing views, as well as the British Labour Party's Jeremy Corbyn.
"It's time for someone who is not ashamed of our activist past to lead the NDP into the future," they said. "That person is not Mr. Mulcair."
Mulcair "has been quite removed from the labour movement, from the student movement, and we think that somebody who really embodies those values is who should be at the helm within the party," Julia Maksymetz, the co-president of NDP Concordia, told CBC in an interview.
She and her fellow student New Democrats are calling for a leadership review and a return to the NDP's leftist roots.
The letter in Le Devoir and the Toronto Star Tuesday was signed by former Quebec NDP MPs, as well as activists and grassroots members of the party.
Mulcair is currently campaigning to win a leadership vote at the New Democratic Party's convention taking place in Edmonton in April.