In their roles as Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition, there are very few things that Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair agree upon, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is the Opposition’s role to disagree with the governing party in order to ensure that any legislation brought forward is given suitable scrutiny before being made into law.
The two men agree on one thing however: Justin Trudeau should not be allowed the keys to 10 Sussex Drive next October, and not just because they want them for themselves.
Though the Liberals currently lead opinion polls for both party support and choice of best Prime Minister, in light of recent events the data should be a bit concerning for the Liberal Party.
Despite their lead, party support has dropped since the last poll, as the Conservatives move to catch up. The same could be said of the leadership poll, which saw Harper tighten the gap between himself and the Liberal Leader.
Though Mulcair and the NDP currently trail the pack, Mulcair has a plan to convince Canadians that he is the true progressive leader Canadians need, and plans to make this clear in the year leading up to the 2015 election.
In contrast to Trudeau’s lack of solid stances on policy, the NDP leader plans to make the party’s stance clear on a variety of issues, including health and child care, First Nations rights, and the environment, to name a few. Mulcair claims he will offer both toughness and deep experience, which is something everyone can agree the Liberal leader is lacking.
The Liberals bank on a man with nothing more to offer than his father’s name and his mother’s looks.
Mulcair’s attacks on Trudeau as being light on policy may have found him an odd ally in the Prime Minister. While the Conservative stance regarding the young leader has never altered from their “he’s not ready” line, the Prime Minister stepped up the rhetoric during his annual Stampede barbeque speech, where he said that “[Trudeau] has [. . .] absolutely nothing of substance to offer.”
Harper spent most of this speech taking aim at Trudeau, without mentioning Mulcair by name, which seems to indicate that either he doesn’t see Mulcair as a threat to a continued Conservative government, or at the very least, sees him as less of a threat to the country than a Liberal government under Trudeau.
One should also take into account both the Prime Minister’s and the Opposition leader’s experience. Though Harper now enjoys a majority government, it is easy to forget that the two minority governments prior to 2011 give the Conservatives the distinction of having the longest lasting minority government in Canadian history, with a total time of just under five years. This is impressive when one considers that the average lifespan of a Canadian minority government is less than 18 months.
But Mulcair is not new to politics either, bringing in 20 years of experience at both provincial and federal levels. In addition, Mulcair is considered by many to be instrumental in helping his predecessor, the late Jack Layton, catapult the NDP from third-party to Official Opposition status in the last election. Do not underestimate this man.
Against these two political giants, Trudeau brings a mere eight years of experience in the political arena. The Liberals are banking on a man who has nothing more to offer than his father’s name and his mother’s good looks. As much as it pains me to admit it, if given the choice between a Liberal or an NDP government, I would cast my vote for Mulcair, who is the lesser of two evils as far as our country is concerned.