Tom Mulcair slammed by Montreal riding president ahead of leadership vote

Alain Charbonneau, the president of an NDP riding association in Montreal, believes it's time to choose another leader, arguing Tom Mulcair isn't a "good salesperson" for the party.

NDP leader will be subject to leadership review at party convention in just over a month

Tom Mulcair managed to win his own riding of Outremont, but NDP support in Quebec tanked in the Oct. 19, 2015 federal election. (Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz)

The head of an NDP riding association in Montreal is speaking out against Tom Mulcair ahead of the party's April leadership vote.

Alain Charbonneau, who became president of the Lasalle—Ville-Émard—Verdun riding association last week, is planning to vote against Mulcair in the review, saying last year's election loss was "devastating" for the party.

"We lost so much," he told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

"He was hired, basically — voted in as leader — because he was supposed to be the one who could win. That was his mission. He failed."

In the 2015 election, the NDP was reduced to third-party status with only 44 seats across the country and 16 seats in Quebec as Justin Trudeau's Liberals swept to power.

At the party's biennial convention starting on April 8, NDP members will gather in Edmonton where they'll be asked to vote yes or no on whether they support the leader. 

Mulcair has said he will ask New Democrats to give him another chance. Earlier this month, he penned an open letter outlining a series of changes aimed at improving the party's showing in the election.

Alain Charbonneau, president of the NDP riding association for Lasalle—Ville-Émard—Verdun, says Tom Mulcair "failed" as party leader. (Rebecca Ugolini/CBC)
"I agree with the overarching assessment that our campaign came up short," he said.

"As leader, I take full responsibility for these shortcomings. I could have done a better job."

Party president Rebecca Blaikie says Mulcair should require support from 70 per cent of delegates to stay on as leader. So far, there hasn't been much public clamouring for him to step aside.

For his part, Charbonneau attributes the NDP's poor showing in the election to Mulcair's failure to connect with voters.

"I'm not saying he's bad for the party or a bad parliamentarian. He's an excellent parliamentarian," said Charbonneau.

"He's just not a good salesperson."

A full report on the party's electoral result is expected to be released in March, just ahead of the party's April convention.


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