The Inside Agenda Blog

Anatomy of a Convention: The First Press Conference

by Steve Paikin Sunday March 25, 2012

12:35 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto, and Thomas Mulcair has just met the NDP caucus for the first time as new leader. 

 

Asked what he planned to do when the Conservatives begin the attack ads against him, Mulcair suggested "the Canadian people are tired of these secondary school tactics."

He predicts they'll be open to a more serious politics, absent the usual shenanigans. 

 

Mulcair seemed to go out of his way to be calm and distinguished at his news conference, as if to prove he's not the hot head his critics accuse him of being. 

 

Mulcair says job one is to continue to reach out to Canadians, particularly those who didn't vote in the last election, with a modern, more competent New Democratic Party. 

 

Will a Mulcair-led NDP change the party's traditional economic policy positions? Yes, Mulcair says. The party "constantly adapts."

For example, he says he won't engage in kneejerk criticism of the oil sands (which he didn't call the "tar sands.")

 

Mulcair says he's most proud of the fact that the NDP jumped from 1,600 to 15,000 members in the province of Quebec, in the leadup to the leadership convention. 

 

Mulcair had nothing but praise for his chief rival, Brian Topp, whom he said did "an extraordinary job." 

 

Mulcair and Libby Davies were both co-deputy leaders under Nycole Turmel. Mulcair now says Davies will remain deputy leader for now. Bigger changes in personnel will await the fall sitting. 

And with that, he was off...