As the dust settled following a stunning rejection of Tom Mulcair’s leadership at the NDP convention in Edmonton, at least two of the party’s MPs said they had mixed emotions about the results.
“The work that Tom did is a large part of the reason I’m here,” said Quebec’s Matthew Dubé.
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“Certainly it’s a loss .. at the same time we do have to have faith in the membership.”
Dubé had come out in support of his leader in recent weeks, but it wouldn’t be enough. Mulcair failed to clear the bar of 50 per cent plus one support that would have technically kept the party from triggering a leadership race. At 48 per cent support, he fell far short of the arbitrary bar of 70 per cent set by the party’s outgoing president.
British Columbia MP Don Davies told The West Block’s Tom Clark that he has no doubt Mulcair was the right man to fill the void left by Jack Layton, who died just months after the NDP’s historic “Orange Wave” of 2011.
WATCH: Quebec MP Matthew Dubé and B.C. MP Don Davies talk about possible run at NDP leadership
“I don’t think anybody could have stepped in and filled the breach like Tom did,” Davies said.
“It’s never easy and you can never be happy when you see someone’s work and career rejected, in a sense. So I really feel for Tom.”
Dubé says it’s not his personal approach to lay blame for a party’s poor election performance at the feet of just one person, but he understands that “that’s part and parcel” of politics. Now, he said, the New Democrats must focus on rebranding and convincing Canadians that they can be not only the “conscience of Parliament,” but also form government in 2019.
“One or the other is not enough,” Dubé said, echoing the words of other delegates and MPs at the convention.
According to Davies, those high expectations were in place even before last fall’s vote, and Mulcair fell victim to them. The delay in holding a leadership race will not be due to a lack of talent within the NDP ranks, he added. The party simply doesn’t want to compete with the Conservative leadership race, which will culminate in a vote in mid-May 2017.
Asked if he would consider running to replace Mulcair himself, Davies replied, “never say never.”
Watch the full interview with Davies and Dubé above.