NDP Strategy 20140117

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair told his caucus members Monday that he will try to persuade progressive voters to choose his party in the next election. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says his party intends to bring the issue of Canada Post's impending cancellation of urban home mail delivery to a vote in the House of Commons.

Mulcair says the NDP will use its first opposition day motion to ask MPs to agree that door-to-door mail delivery is a valuable service provided by Canada Post.

The motion, to be introduced by transport critic Olivia Chow on Tuesday, asks the House to "express its opposition to Canada becoming the only country in the G7 without such a service."

The decision by Canada Post to end urban letter-mail service over the next five years and move to a system of community mailboxes was announced just days after Parliament adjourned for its Christmas break, leaving MPs with no opportunity to debate the issue. 

Mulcair keeps up rat-a-tat-tat questions

As the first question period of the new year began Monday, Mulcair showed no sign of letting up on his prosecutorial style of asking questions in the House of Commons, as he did in the fall sitting, relentlessly blasting Prime Minister Stephen Harper with short, open-ended rat-a-tat-tat questions.

After leading off with a question about the crisis in Ukraine, Mulcair moved fairly quickly to the Senate, demanding to know why the Privy Council Office turned down 27 of 27 access to information requests for documents about the expenses of senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, Patrick Brazeau and Mac Harb.

"Is the prime minister going to release the documents, yes or no?" Mulcair barked.

Other NDP MPs pushed Harper on ethical questions as well, perhaps setting the tone for the winter sitting. They brought up Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant's campaign and fundraising against her own party's policy about banning incandescent light bulbs. Gallant has returned the money she raised.

The NDP also brought up Heritage Minister Shelly Glover's return of funds after she attended a house party full of donors who were in a position to possibly receive arts grants from her department.

Mulcair pledges to unite 'progressives'

In a rousing speech to his caucus Monday before question period began,  Mulcair pledged to bring together so-called progressive voters and persuade them to vote for his party.

"In the next election, we’re going work to unite progressives of every political stripe behind the NDP banner. We’re going to unite progressives. We’re going to unite Canadians," he said.

His promise to unite progressives was in reference to the fact that most voters did not vote for the Conservatives last election, and that together the NDP, Liberals and Greens captured 60 per cent of the vote.

Mulcair did not refer to polls that for the past several months that have put the Liberals ahead of the NDP when people are queried by pollsters about their voting intentions .

Other NDP plans

Mulcair also said the NDP will keep up its emphasis on consumer issues, taking aim at what he called "criminal" interest rates charged for payday loans. He described the trap set for some families as they take out one payday loan to cover the previous ones.

Forty-two per cent of families live paycheque to paycheque and are particularly vulnerable to interest rates on payday loans that, with fees and service charges, can be as high as 1,000 per cent, Mulcair said.

Mulcair did not have the chance, as Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau did, to escort newly elected MPs into the House for their first sitting.

After four byelections in November, two Conservatives — Larry Maguire and Ted Falk — and two Liberals — Emmanuel Dubourg and Chrystia Freeland — took their seats Monday.