Apr 11, 2016

By Jane Brown

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The federal New Democrats have started the search for a new leader after a stunning vote to oust Tom Mulcair yesterday at the party’s Edmonton convention.

Fifty-two percent of the party members voted for a leadership race.

“Don’t let this very divided vote divide us,” Mulcair said as he addressed party members, “let’s all work together now to choose the best person to take our project forward.”

Mulcair failed not only to get the 70 percent endorsement generally accepted to be required to survive, but was unable to secure the 50 percent plus one the party’s constitution requires for him to even try to make a case for his continued leadership.

Mulcair had an opportunity in October of last year to become Canada’s first NDP Prime Minister, but is now pledging to stay on as interim leader until his successor is chosen. It’s a process that could take up to two years.

Attention immediately turned to Olivia Chow, a former Toronto NDP MP and the widow of late party leader Jack Layton. She isn’t saying whether she’s interested in leadership, but she is talking about what she believes are priorities for the party.

“We seek to have a country where no one is left behind as a social democratic position,” Chow explained, “following our founder Tommy Douglas, which (sic) brought about healthcare, that’s most important in having that kind of vision, and the ability to connect with people to express those values, to inspire people.”

An email statement from NDP National Director Karl Belanger to Zoomer Radio News says the party’s federal council is initiating the process to determine the next steps towards a leadership election.

He also thanked Tom Mulcair for his tireless work on behalf of the NDP and all Canadians.

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