Former NDP leader Tom Mulcair leaving federal politics in June
Outremont MP will take a position at a Canadian university
Former NDP leader Tom Mulcair will resign the House of Commons seat he has held for roughly 10 years next June, the Quebec MP tells CBC's French-language service, Radio-Canada, paving the way for a byelection.
Mulcair plans to take up a position at a yet unnamed Canadian university.
"I'm looking at spring with a big smile, because it's been 40 years since I started in the government [...] I started in June 1978, in Quebec, during the first [Parti Québécois] government, and that's where I really took a liking to politics," Mulcair said in French in an interview with Radio-Canada's Louis Blouin Monday.
Mulcair said he will stick around Ottawa until June — when the House rises for the summer break — to finish some remaining parliamentary business. Mulcair, first elected as a federal MP in a byelection in 2007, took the reins of the party in 2012, not long after the death of Jack Layton.
Mulcair was only the second NDP MP ever elected in Quebec — Outremont, in Montreal, had to that point been one of the Liberal Party's safest seats — and he bested his Liberal opponent by some 11 percentage points in the 2015 federal election campaign. NDP polling fortunes have since taken a turn for the worse in that province, which could make for a competitive electoral contest.
"Being elected four times for the NDP in Quebec — it's still a feat if we look at the history of our party in Quebec. Let's hope it's okay, and [that] Jack Layton's social-democratic vision, which we've worked so hard on, will continue," Mulcair said, referring to the number of times he contested, and won, the Outremont seat.
Mulcair, a lawyer by training and a long-time public servant in Quebec, was ousted as leader by party members at a contentious convention in Edmonton in April 2016, which paved the way for a leadership race to replace him.
"Does it leave a bitterness? Obviously. I would have preferred another result, I will not hide it. But I had to deal with [that]. It's part of life," he said of that result.
Former Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh was the victor in that campaign, and leads the party from outside the House as he currently does not hold a seat. He has so far declined to run in a series of byelections held this fall. Another Quebec MP, and a former opponent of Singh's in the leadership race, Guy Caron, is serving as the party's parliamentary leader in the interim.
Mulcair has spoken only twice in the House since Singh was named leader in October — once to raise the issue of the thousands of Rohingya Muslims facing persecution in Myanmar, and another to wish a happy Hanukkah to Jewish Canadians.
A veteran member of the NDP parliamentary caucus, Charlie Angus, offered his best wishes Monday:
I wish all the best for <a href="https://twitter.com/ThomasMulcair?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ThomasMulcair</a> and his wonderful wife Catherine. You have served our nation and the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NDP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NDP</a> with integrity. Your incredible work in Parliament is the reason that the entrenched Harper regime was finally brought down. I have been honoured to serve with you.—@CharlieAngusNDP