Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair a consummate politician

Richmond's Dale Jackaman with Thomas Mulcair at the NDP leadership convention in Toronto.
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NDP supporter Dale Jackaman sees a bright future ahead for the federal party after witnessing last weekend’s two-day leadership convention in Toronto where Quebec MP Thomas Mulcair took over the party’s reins from the late Jack Layton.

Jackaman, who ran as the NDP’s federal candidate in Richmond in 2004, 2008 and 2011, first met Mulcair during an NDP convention in Vancouver in 2008, not long after Mulcair was first elected.

People were impressed by his speech marking, the content of his speech, and the fact that he was firmly against the Stephen Harper-led Conservatives.

Jackaman recalls having coffee with Mulcair and another MP, and came away impressed.

“He’s a very bright and articulate person. His knowledge of the issues is very, very impressive,” said Jackaman, who called Mulcair a “consumate politician” who is familiar with topics across the country.

Mulcair’s English is “superb” and he switches seamlessly between English and French, Jackaman said.

Jackaman threw his support behind Mulcair, a lawyer, not long after Layton succumbed to cancer last year.

Jackaman saw the need for a strong leader, somebody would could stand up for the entire country, and since the Conservatives were seen to be alienating Quebec, Jackaman saw it was best to have someone from Quebec.

“Thomas and Jack were very close in many ways, but two completely different individuals,” Jackaman said.

Layton was “affable, personable,” while Thomas has “a few more rough edges and a completely different style.”

On the political side of the ledger, Mulcair and Layton “are very close in terms of how to run the country.”

Jackaman, who volunteered on Mulcair’s election team, continued: “There’s a huge gap between the rich and the poor and it’s growing, and regular Canadians are not being treated fairly at all levels of government these days, notably federally.”

Of Mulcair, Jackaman said: “He’s an impressive man, and he will make an excellent prime minister.”

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