| Thomas J. Mulcair |
|Leader of the Opposition|
| Assumed office |
March 24, 2012
|Prime Minister||Stephen Harper|
|Preceded by||Nycole Turmel|
|Leader of the New Democratic Party|
| Assumed office |
March 24, 2012
|Preceded by||Nycole Turmel(interim)|
| Member of the Canadian Parliament |
| Assumed office |
September 17, 2007
|Preceded by||Jean Lapierre|
|MNA for Chomedey|
| In office |
|Preceded by||Lise Bacon|
|Succeeded by||Guy Ouellette|
|Quebec Minister of the Environment|
| In office |
|Preceded by||André Boisclair|
|Succeeded by||Claude Béchard|
|Born|| October 24, 1954 |
|Political party||New Democratic Party|
|Profession||Attorney, professor, politician|
Thomas J. "Tom" Mulcair (born October 24, 1954) is a Canadianlawyer, university professor, and politician. A New Democratic PartyMember of Parliament for the electoral district of Outremont in Quebec since 2007, and Leader of the NDP and Official Opposition as of March 24, 2012, he was selected as the leader of the New Democratic Party in the leadership election on March 24, 2012 with 57.2% of the votes on the fourth and final ballot.
He was the provincial Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for the riding of Chomedey in Laval from 1994 to 2007, holding the seat for the Liberal Party of Quebec. He served as the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks from 2003 until 2006, in the Liberal government of PremierJean Charest. Elected MP for Outremont in a by-election in 2007, he was named Deputy Leader of the New Democratic Party, jointly with Libby Davies, shortly afterwards, and has won re-election twice. On May 26, 2011 he was named the New Democratic Party's Opposition House Leader. Prior to entering politics, Mulcair was a senior civil servant in the Quebec provincial government, ran a private law practice, and taught law at the university level.
Early life, family, and education
Mulcair was born in 1954 at the Ottawa Civic Hospital to Harry Donnelly Mulcair, an Irish Canadian father, and Jeanne Hurtubise, a French Canadianmother. He is the second-oldest of the couple's ten children, and was raised in the Wrightville district of Hull (now Gatineau) and in Laval, just north of Montreal. He graduated from Laval Catholic High School, and in Social Sciences from CEGEPVanier College.
Mulcair graduated from McGill University in 1977 with degrees in common law and civil law. During his penultimate year, he was elected president of the McGill Law Students Association, and sat on the council of the McGill Student Union. He has been married to Catherine Pinhas since 1976. She is apsychologist with Turkish-Jewish heritage who was born in France, and the couple have two sons.
The couple moved to Quebec City in 1978, and Mulcair was called to the Bar of Quebec in 1979. He worked in the Legislative Affairs branch in Quebec'sMinistry of Justice and later in the Legal Affairs Directorate of the Superior Council of the French Language.
In 1983 Mulcair became Director of Legal Affairs at Alliance Quebec. In 1985 he began a private law practice, and was named the reviser of the statutes ofManitoba following the Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the Manitoba reference case. Mulcair also taught law courses to non-law students at Concordia University (1984), at the Saint Lawrence Campus of Champlain Regional College in Sainte-Foy, and at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. He served as Commissioner of the Appeals Committee on the Language of Instruction (1986).
Mulcair was President of the Office des professions du Québec (1987 to 1993), where he introduced reforms to make disciplinary hearings more transparent and successfully led a major effort to have cases of alleged sexual abuse of patients decisively dealt with. Mulcair was also a board member of the group Conseil de la langue française, and at the time of his appointment to the Office des Professions he had been serving as President of the English speaking Catholic Council.
Enters provincial politics
He first entered the National Assembly in the 1994 election, winning the riding of Chomedey. He was re-elected in 1998 and 2003. When the Quebec Liberal Party formed a provincial government in 2003, Premier of QuebecJean Charest named Mulcair Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks. At the time of his appointment to Cabinet he had been serving on several volunteer boards including The Montreal Oral School for the Deaf, Operation Enfant Soleil and the Saint-Patrick's Society. During his tenure he was a supporter of the Kyoto Protocol.
Advocate for improved environmental rights
On November 25, 2004, Mulcair launched Quebec's Sustainable Development Plan and tabled a draft bill on sustainable development. Also included was a proposed amendment to the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms to create a new right, the right to live in a healthy environment that respects biodiversity, in accordance with the guidelines and standards set out in the Act. Mulcair's Sustainable Development Plan was based on the successful European model and was described as one of the most avant-garde in North America. Mulcair followed the proposal by embarking on a 21-city public consultation tour, and the Act was unanimously adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec in April 2006.
Accomplishments related to infrastructure included the completion of Autoroute 30 between Vaudreuil and Brossard, Autoroute 50 between Gatineau and Lachute, the widening of Route 175 betweenStoneham and Saguenay, the widening of Route 185 from Rivière-du-Loup to the New Brunswick border and the introduction of a toll bridge which would complete Autoroute 25 between Montreal and Laval, despite some public opposition by environmental groups.
Departure from cabinet
During a Cabinet shuffle, Charest offered Mulcair the position of Minister of Government Services in the Quebec government, and Mulcair chose to resign from cabinet rather than accept the apparentdemotion. There was speculation that his contrary opinion on a project that would have transferred lands in Mont Orford Provincial park to private condominium developers led to his removal asMinister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks.
On April 20, 2007, Mulcair confirmed that he would be running for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the next federal election. His presence in the front row during a speech in Montreal by NDP Leader Jack Layton in March 2007 had already led to speculations to that effect. He had previously given a speech at the Federal NDP Convention in Quebec City in September 2006.
Mulcair's maternal great-grandfather was former Quebec Premier Honoré Mercier, to whom he referred when he announced his return to politics in 2007: "My great grandfather was Honoré Mercier, so what else could you expect from me."  Mulcair identified former Quebec Liberal Party leader Claude Ryan as his political mentor.
Mulcair also became Layton's Quebec lieutenant. On June 21, 2007, in an uncontested nomination, Mulcair became the NDP's candidate in the riding ofOutremont for a by-election on September 17. Mulcair won the by-election, defeating Liberal candidate Jocelyn Coulon 48% to 29%; the seat had been a Liberal stronghold since 1935 (except for the 1988 election). Jean Lapierre suggested that Mulcair was likely aided by defecting Bloc Quebecois supporters (the Bloc candidate had finished second in the 2006 federal election). In addition, Coulon's writings had been condemned by B'nai Brith Canada, and the local Jewishcommunity in Outremont makes up 10% of the riding demographics. The Conservatives focused their attacks on the leadership skills of Stéphane Dion, and there were allegations that Michael Ignatieff's supporters tried to sabotage the race for the Liberals to undermine Dion's leadership.
Mulcair was only the second NDP Member of Parliament ever elected from Quebec, following Phil Edmonston in 1990 (one previous MP, Robert Toupin ofTerrebonne, had crossed the floor to the NDP in 1986). Mulcair is also only the second non-Liberal ever to win Outremont, following Progressive ConservativeJean-Pierre Hogue in 1988.
On October 14, 2008, Mulcair was re-elected the Member of Parliament for Outremont, making him the first New Democrat to win a riding in Quebec during a federal general election. He defeated the federal Liberal candidate, Sébastien Dhavernas, by 14,348 votes to 12,005 (a margin of 6.4%).
In the 2011 federal election, despite facing a strong challenge from Liberal Martin Cauchon, a former federal justice minister, Mulcair was re-elected once more with 56.4% of the popular vote, 21,916 to 9,204.
Controversy over Osama bin Laden
In a May 2011 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television interview following Osama bin Laden's capture and killing in Pakistan, Mulcair was asked whether the U.S. should "release pictures of Osama bin Laden". Mulcair answered "I don't think from what I've heard that those pictures exist, and if they do I'll leave that up to the American military." Asked a second time about the existence of the pictures, Muclair replied: "No, I don’t think they do [exist]. If they’ve got pictures of a cadaver, there’s probably more going on than we suspect in what happened there." Mulcair's answer was initially interpreted as casting doubt on the existence of photos of bin Laden's corpse. It received attention from American media outlets and was criticized by Canadian politicians includingPaul Dewar, then NDP foreign affairs critic,Chris Alexander, and Marc Garneau. In the run-up to his NDP leadership bid, Mulcair clarified that he had actually been referring to the question of whether any pictures exist showing bin Laden reaching with a gun before he was killed. He added that he never doubted American forces had killed bin Laden nor that the U.S. had photographs proving bin Laden was dead.Paul Wells of Maclean's noted that the CBC interviewer Evan Solomon failed to pose a clear question, thus leading to the miscommunication.
Federal NDP leadership bid
Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton passed away on August 22, 2011, following a battle with cancer, and was honoured with a state funeral. Mulcair stated that Layton's death had hit him exceptionally hard, and that while he was considering a federal NDP leadership bid, he would need several weeks to make up his mind on that decision.
Mulcair declared his candidacy for the federal NDP leadership at a press conference in suburban Montreal on October 13, 2011. He has attracted the support of 43 current federal MPs, including Robert Chisholm and Romeo Saganash, the only two to have dropped out of the leadership race.
- MPs:Matthew Kellway, Beaches—East York, Paulina Ayala, Honoré-Mercier; Ève Péclet, La Pointe-de-l'Île; Jamie Nicholls, Vaudreuil-Soulanges;Robert Aubin, Trois-Rivières; Claude Patry, Jonquière-Alma; François Lapointe, Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup;Pierre Nantel, Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher; Marc-André Morin, Laurentides—Labelle; Tarik Brahmi, Saint-Jean;Matthew Dubé, Chambly—Borduas;Alexandrine Latendresse, Louis-Saint-Laurent;Hélène LeBlanc, LaSalle-Émard; Jean Rousseau, Compton—Stanstead; Mathieu Ravignat, Pontiac; Sadia Groguhé, Saint-Lambert; Pierre-Luc Dusseault, Sherbrooke;Djaouida Sellah, Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert;Annick Papillon, Québec; Anne-Marie Day, Charlesbourg—Haut-Saint-Charles,Philip Toone, Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Jonathan Tremblay, Montmorency—Charlevoix—Haute-Côte-Nord, Jonathan Genest-Jourdain, Manicouagan, Sylvain Chicoine, Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, Réjean Genest, Shefford, Pierre Jacob, Brome—Missisquoi, Marie-Claude Morin, Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, José Nunez-Melo, Laval, Manon Perreault, Montcalm, François Pilon, Laval—Les Îles, Dan Harris, Scarborough Southwest, Wayne Marston, Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, John Rafferty, Thunder Bay—Rainy River. and Lise St-Denis, Saint-Maurice—Champlain. (St-Denis has since crossed the floor to the Liberals, but has not publicly retracted her endorsement).
- Current/former provincial NDP leaders:Dominic Cardy, leader of the New Brunswick NDP,Edward Schreyer, former Premier of Manitoba and former Governor General of Canada, Howard Hampton former leader of the Ontario NDP (1996-2009).
- Other:Lorne Nystrom, former Saskatchewan MP and 2003 leadership candidate; James Laxer, former NDP leadership candidate.
|[hide]Canadian federal election, 2011|
|New Democratic||Thomas Mulcair||21,906||56.37||+16.84||$80,457|
|Bloc Québécois||Élise Daoust||3,199||8.23||-4.32||$10,456|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||38,858||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||291||0.74||+0.05|
|[hide]Canadian federal election, 2008: Outremont|
|New Democratic Party||(x)Thomas Mulcair||14,348||39.53||+22.33||$69,072|
|Bloc Québécois||Marcella Valdivia||4,554||12.55||-16.46||$48,279|
|Green||F. Monsieur Corde à Linge Pilon||1,566||4.31||-0.51||not listed|
|Total valid votes||36,293||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||253||0.69||-|
|Electors on the lists||64,556|
|New Democratic Partyhold||Swing||-6.05|| |
|Source: Official Voting Results, 40th General Election 2008, Elections Canada. Percentage change figures refer to a comparison with the 2006 general election, not the 2007 by-election.|
|[hide]Canadian federal by-election, September 17, 2007: Outremont|
|New Democratic Party||Thomas Mulcair||11,374||47.50||+30.03||$76,194|
|Bloc Québécois||Jean-Paul Gilson||2,618||10.93||-18.08||$57,717|
|Neorhino.ca||François Yo Gourd||145||0.61||$1,774|
|Independent||Mahmood Raza Baig||78||0.33||$45|
|Canadian Action Party||Alexandre Amirizian||45||0.19||$0|
|Independent||Régent Millette||32||0.13||+0.08||none listed|
|Independent||John C. Turmel||30||0.13||none listed|
|Total valid votes||23,943||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||175||0.73||+0.03|
|Electors on the lists||64,438|
|New Democratic Partygain from Liberal||Swing||-18.3|
| Quebec general el
|Liberal||Thomas J. Mulcair||25,363||71.10||+1.23|
|Parti Québécois||Coline Chhay||6,568||18.41||-3.49|
|Action démocratique||Vicken Darakdjian||3,384||9.49||+2.65|
|Quebec general election, 1998|
|Liberal||Thomas J. Mulcair||28,293||69.87||+2.17|
|Parti Québécois||Monia Prévost||8,869||21.90||-2.26|
|Action démocratique||Vicken Darakdjian||2,768||6.84||+1.62|
|Socialist Democracy||Jean-Pierre Roy||195||0.48||-|
|Quebec general election, 1994|
|Liberal||Thomas J. Mulcair||25,885||67.70||+14.31|
|Parti Québécois||Lidi Costache||9,239||24.16||-0.44|
|Action démocratique||Gaétane Piché||1,997||5.22||-|
|Natural law||John Wolter||150|| |
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