Tom Mulcair says he'll work 'tirelessly' ahead of NDP leadership review in April
A new poll suggests a lack of enthusiasm for the NDP leader
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says he will ask New Democrats to give him another chance when he meets with them in Edmonton at the party's biennial convention in April.
While New Democrats are conducting a review of last year's general election results, which saw the party relegated to third-place status, their constitution calls for an automatic leadership review every two years.
"I'm going to continue to work hard to get as much support as I can from our membership base," Mulcair said during a news conference in Ottawa ahead of a two-day meeting of his party's caucus in Montebello, Que.
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"I know that that support can be there, I sense that it is there, but I'm not taking anything for granted," Mulcair said on Monday.
"I'm going to continue to work tirelessly ... to get their support."
Mulcair's comments come on the heels of a new poll published by Mainstreet Research for Postmedia which suggested a lack of enthusiasm for the NDP leader.
Though his overall approval rating among New Democratic voters was high — 73 per cent to 14 per cent disapproval — only 32 per cent said they strongly approved of Mulcair and just half thought that there was no need for a leadership race to replace Mulcair.
The poll found that 48 per cent of NDP supporters thought a leadership race should not be held, compared to just 15 per cent who thought that one should. However, that still left 37 per cent of NDP voters who said they were not sure about whether a leadership race should be held.
Together, that puts the number of NDP voters either in favour or unsure of the need for a leadership race at 52 per cent.
By comparison, just 24 per cent of Green Party supporters were either unsure or supportive of the need for a leadership race to replace Elizabeth May.
Resigning didn't cross Mulcair's mind
Mulcair would not say exactly what level of support he hoped to receive, but anything less than 50 per cent of the secret ballots casts would trigger a leadership race within a year.
"It's up to the members to decide that and I don't take anything for granted," he said.
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Mulcair said he was "heartened" by the support New Democrats have shown him during the last three months as he criss-crossed the country reconnecting with the party base.
Asked in French if he thought about resigning as party leader, Mulcair said "not at all. It's not my style."
The NDP leader said he felt "re-energized" and is ready to get back to work.
Members of Parliament return to Ottawa next Monday when the House of Commons resumes after a five-week recess.
Mulcair called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to consult Parliamentarians ahead of the budget.
"If Stephen Harper was able to hold all-party pre-budget hearings, why can't Justin Trudeau?," he said.
In an open letter to Trudeau, interim Conservative party leader Rona Ambrose also expressed concerns with the finance committee not bring struck on time to hear
Trudeau, who is meeting with his cabinet in New Brunswick, said the government had already consulted with some 80,000 Canadians.
Mulcair calls for 'better' TPP deal
Mulcair also called on the government not to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal reached by the previous government that would bring together 12 countries from Chile to Japan into a single free-trade zone.
"If Hillary Clinton isn't accepting this deal, as is, if even U.S. Republicans aren't ready to rubber stamp the TPP, why is the prime minister willingly accepting a bad deal signed in secret by Stephen Harper's Conservatives?
"It's deeply disappointing to hear Liberal ministers say that a better deal is not even possible. That's simply not good enough, Canadians deserve better," Mulcair said in a not-so-veiled reference to one of Trudeau's favourite slogans.
"In Canada, better is always possible," Trudeau repeatedly said during the election campaign.
"A better deal is possible," Mulcair said on Monday, "and a better one must be achieved."
While Trudeau's Liberals have said they are open to free trade, they have stopped short of fully endorsing the TPP agreement saying they need more time to learn about the implications of the deal ahead of an expected signing ceremony in New Zealand early next month.
"Canada hasn't yet taken a decision," International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland said in Vancouver last week.
Freeland is currently holding a series of consultations on the 12-country Pacific Rim trade agreement.
The poll by Mainstreet Research was conducted for Postmedia on Jan. 15, 2016, interviewing 4,937 Canadians via interactive voice response. The margin of error associated with the sample of NDP voters is +/- 3.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error associated with the sample of Green voters is +/- 6.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
With files from Éric Grenier