Nonetheless, Mulcair wants very much to remain head of the NDP, and insists he should lead the party into the next election, while blaming the loss of the last one on decisions he made around TV debates and the niqab. The niqab "hurt us terribly," he recently said, "I can share with you that the polling we did showed we dropped over 20 points in 48 hours here in Quebec because of the strong stand I took on the niqab."
Well, maybe. He's got the figures in front of him and I don't, so I'll have to take his word for it. But Trudeau made a vigorous defence of the niqab and it didn't seem to hurt him in Quebec or anywhere else. The trends of the cross-country polling showed the NDP peaking in late August and declining fairly steadily after that. But the niqab debate didn't heat up until late September and, interestingly, that's when the Liberals took off.
In light of the above, Tom's niqab-blaming looks a bit dodgy and, quite frankly, leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Sounding rueful about taking a stand on civil rights is not something a social democrat should ever do.
The NDP election effort lacked inspired leadership and the platform was too cautious. The party needs to get back to its social democratic roots and it needs a leader to take it there. Enough of this middle-of-the-road pretense.