Tom Mulcair provoked online reactions ranging from befuddlement to outrage Sunday, after declining to answer questions from reporters at his first campaign event.
The NDP leader spoke to Canadians from Gatineau, Que. soon after Conservative Leader Stephen Harper asked Gov. Gen. David Johnston to trigger the official start of the federal election campaign.
Mulcair repeatedly attacked Stephen Harper during his speech, focusing on the Conservative government's economic record. But it was Mulcair's decision not to take questions from reporters after his remarks that stirred up the most reaction on Twitter. Harper took five questions after his speech and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau did not place a limit on questions from the media.
Many were quick to note that Mulcair seemed to be taking a page out of Harper's playbook.
Mulcair, wanting to show how different he is from Harper, decides not to take questions or go to the Consortium debate, like Harper.— @sovykurosei
Mulcair won't take questions from media & won't participate in the consortium debates. That's not change. That's more of the same. #elxn42— @popoffculture
Political reporters and commentators were surprised.
hey thomas mulcair didn't take questions from reporters today pic.twitter.com/RnDLHSAFgR— @Justin_Ling
I can't speak for colleagues covering Mulcair, but there was much headshaking at Rideau Hall when word came that he'd eschew questions.— @kady
Really not sure Mulcair is wise to refuse to take questions as he kicks off campaign.— @stphnmaher
Some simply couldn't figure out what Mulcair was up to.
I’m sure the Mulcair decision not to take questions was considered, but I can’t think what the reasoning was.— @davidreevely
And there wasn't much explanation from his campaign.
Mulcair takes no questions. Asked why, #NDP senior campaign adviser Brad Lavigne says only: "It's just a statement today." Doesn't say why.— @smithjoanna
But some saw strategy in decision.
Voters don’t care how many questions reporters get to ask. Harper’s been proving that point for a decade. https://t.co/Vg2VXJsuIW— @davidakin
Mulcair not taking questions a reminder - for first time ever, NDP doesn't start campaign with getting attention as a primary goal.— @aradwanski
@stphnmaher Odd but will matter for seconds as long campaign kicks in and Cdns hear from leaders daily if not hourly.Is trick to stay fresh?— @judithtimson
Several conservative strategists and commentators hinted at a double standard.
So the media isn't shouting questions at Mulcair yet when he refuses to take them from reporters.— @stephen_taylor
Justin Trudeau alluded to the decision during his own speech ...
... though not everyone was impressed with the Liberal leader's answers.
Though much like the other guys, I probably won't really answer them. https://t.co/a4FKoGsS46— @RobynUrback
But reaction to Mulcair's decision wasn't all serious. It is a long weekend, after all.
Tom Mulcair leaves podium without answering questions. Apparently he found out he wasn't getting paid overtime for working a holiday Sunday.— @22_Minutes