Yesterday Tom Mulcair came to Vancouver for an NDP rally at the Jack Poole Plaza. Somehow I was put on the mailing list, despite having moved to Chilliwack. Thinking there might be a chance to ask some questions, I drove down.
It turned out a lovely day; a little blustery overlooking the water, with clouds passing through. A substantial crowd was in attendance, and people were friendly. Many held signs, and gave the impression of being long-time party members.
I fell into conversation with a younger woman, a volunteer for one of the Vancouver ridings. This was the first time she’d taken an active part in political life. Like me, she was shocked by the cheating and outright fraud the Conservatives used to win the last election. And she told me something I hadn’t known about: Harper’s stacking the courts with judges who share his point of view. Considering that his majority government was achieved with only 39.62% of the popular vote, this kind of activity is highly dubious.
The Vancouver candidates were introduced, to great applause. Then the energy level of the Plaza went to a higher level.
Tom Mulcair may be the most important person in Canada today, and he inspires love in a lot of people. The crowd parted and he entered with music blaring, and an advance guard of security men. Progress was slow, because everybody wanted to shake his hand.
The NDP leader opened his speech by promising to hold an inquiry into why so many Indigenous women disappear in Canada, especially in B.C. The crowd was well aware that Stephen Harper routinely turns a blind eye to this injustice, and recently he rejected a UN commission’s advice on the matter. Immediately then, attention was drawn to the great divide between Harper’s radical conservatism, which favours white supremacy at home and imperialism abroad, and Canadians with deeply rooted values of basic human decency.
This was the first time I’d seen Tom Mulcair speak in person. The overall impression was of the confirmation of a true Canadian identity. I’d regarded Jack Layton very highly, so there was a definite sense of relief when someone of Mulcair’s caliber, a brilliant man of huge experience and a real grown-up, stepped up to take charge.
On leaving the event, we were given a copy of Common Ground, a smaller Canadian magazine. This issue includes an excerpt from Mulcair’s book, Strength of Conviction, in which he tells of his experience as the environment minister of Quebec.
In a world where the Faustian types are so deeply entrenched, some may feel a man of principles means trouble. He is needed, though.