Politics·CBC Forum

Who should lead the federal NDP?

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair's job could be on the line when the party holds a policy convention in early April. What do you think? Who should lead the NDP?

Tom Mulcair's grip on NDP seems tenuous as party policy convention approaches

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair wrote a personal letter to supporters taking full responsibility for the party's drop to third-party status. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair's job could be on the line when the party holds a policy convention in early April.

Several dozen prominent party supporters from Quebec have written an open letter calling for "renewal," and former leadership rival Niki Ashton (a sitting MP) wouldn't answer directly about whether she would support Mulcair at the April 8-10 convention in Edmonton.

The NDP has been carrying out a post-mortem in the aftermath of last fall's devastating finish in the election campaign, when the party dropped to 44 seats in the House of Commons from the previous 95.

Mulcair later wrote a personal letter to supporters taking full responsibility for those results after a preliminary working group's report found the party's message failed to resonate.

The NDP's constitution calls for a secret ballot at next month's convention; if more than 50 per cent of the ballots call for new leadership, a vote must be held within a year.

Should Mulcair stay at the party's helm? If not, who should take his place?

Who should lead the federal NDP?

Readers gave us their suggestions in the latest CBC Forum — a live, hosted discussion about topics of national interest.

(Please note that user names are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the user name to see the comment in the blog format.)

Some of the CBC Forum suggestions for NDP leader

Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton, Gary Burrill, Nathan Cullen, Paul Dewar, Cheri DiNovo, Gary Doer, Peter Julian, Megan Leslie, Joanne Liu, Pat Martin, Elizabeth May, Tom Mulcair, Pamela Palmater, Kennedy Stewart

Some readers said Mulcair has earned the right to stay at the helm.

"I certainly had  issues with the campaign — what hard-nosed politico wouldn't — but my support is still firmly behind Mulcair. The way I see it, no campaign or leader could have halted the Liberal sweep because the desire to heave Steve was so strong." — Sarah Tiscott

Others said he needed to go ...

"Mulcair simply isn't credible. Sure, he put on a good show in question period, but when it came time to lead and put forward a real plan he choked. The assessment that 'you can't be Tommy Douglas on Stephen Harper's budget' was 100 per cent correct, and Mulcair should have known that." — Bob L 

... and offered up some possible replacements.

Niki Ashton, NDP MP for Churchill-Keewatinook Aski:

"She can most clearly lay claim to the label of democratic socialist, has the infrastructure in place from a previous leadership run, and would be able to pull in new voters with her youth and charisma." — Andrew Traynor

​Nathan Cullen, NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley:

"Ran a great leadership campaign in 2012; excellent resume with House leader and finance critic under the belt; still an MP; might be able to strengthen NDP weakness in the west; and in general seems like a more pleasant person to work with in comparison to Mr. Mulcair." — R

Elizabeth May, Green Party leader:

"I believe the best choice is to merge with the Green Party and put Elizabeth May in charge. She has the drive to win, she has the people's trust and would make a solid, progressive prime minister. I honestly don't see why her name isn't in the running." — Philip from Hamilton

Joanne Liu, international president of Doctors without Borders:

"Bilingual and articulate, brilliant and accomplished." — SeanFordyce

You can read the complete discussion below.

Can't see the forum? Click here.

With files from Éric Grenier, Kathleen Harris and The Canadian Press