By Pradip Rodrigues
Mississauga, July 24 (CINEWS) Tom Mulcair has the reputation for being an angry man, last Halloween he even dressed as an orange Angry Bird in keeping with his image, but on Tuesday morning, none of that irascibility was in evidence, instead he was the picture of serenity as he sat with a few local media people at Woodlogix Interior, a Mississauga-based company which provides Architectural Millwork Solution. Tom Mulcair along with his wife Catherine Pinhas Mulcair are on an eight-day pre- election tour of Ontario.
As he sat with the gathering, an ebullient Tom was no doubt reveling in some very good news that was announced earlier that very morning. In the latest CBC Poll Tracker update, NDP was in the lead with 32.4 per cent in the weighted average against 29.4 per cent support for the Conservatives while the Liberals are trailing even further.
There is rampant speculation in the media across the country that a nationwide Orange wave seems imminent, something unthinkable only a few months ago.
Following a tour of Woodlogix, Tom and Catherine flanked by two NDP candidates, Fayaz Karim for Mississauga-Streetsville and Farheen Khan for Mississauga Centre sat with representatives of a few local media outlets. As each person introduced themselves, Tom wrote down the person’s name and media outlet he or she represented. And Tom went on to address each one by name.
Tom Mulcair spoke about his plan for quality, affordable child care. He pointed out how difficult it was to find child care spots and the prohibitive cost of up to $2000 for a single child.
He savaged the controversial Bill C-24 which allows the government to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism, high treason or several other serious offences. He reminding everyone that both he and wife Catherine hold dual citizenship. He knocked Bill C-51 which he sees as a real threat to Canadians. “Mr Harper sees things as black and white. Mr Trudeau claims to be against it but voted for it. I voted against it. I am not afraid of Mr Harper,” he said flashing briefly his more familiar side.
He promised to repeal the act if and when the NDP comes to power.
He gave every person the opportunity to ask questions. The question posed by Can-India was: While many voters leaning toward the NDP laud the proposed $15 minimum wage hike along with other initiatives, there is worry about the economic implications of having the first NDP government in Ottawa because of a perception that your party lacks a clear industrial development strategy. How would you assuage their fears?
Tom Mulcair explained how he planned to give incentive to small business owners to create jobs by giving them a break on their tax. Big business can expect to pay higher taxes. In short the NDP had a plan to radicalize the way Canada will conduct business when it comes to power.
One journalist fretted that a three-way tie could end up being the best case scenario for the Conservatives who could well end up back power. “Don’t vote Liberal,” he intoned while conceding it remained a distinct possibility. It is
something that probably kept him and his advisors up at night.
Another ethnic journalist told Tom that it was very difficult to convince her fellow Muslim-Canadian voters to consider voting NDP because they were conditioned to voting Liberal. Tom said that was true of not just the Muslim community but many immigrant groups given that historically, many communities believe that the Liberals provided them a gateway to Canada.
He also reminded the assembled journalists that the retirement age would be 65 not 67 under the NDP. Atleast one of those journalists wondered if it could be reduced still further.
And on a happy note, Tom and Catherine Mulcair posed for pictures, exchanged pleasantries and despite having an extremely hectic schedule, the couple looked so relaxed you’d imagine they were driving off to the cottage for a much deserved sabbatical.