Mulcair pushes education investment
A lecture to a Thompson Rivers University class seemed like an apt environment for Thomas Mulcair’s first trip to the Tournament Capital in his bid to lead the NDP.
As one of 10 siblings from a large Quebec family, Mulcair said he never would have made it to university if his home province hadn’t believed in investing in post-secondary education.
If Mulcair is successful in becoming the leader of the Official Opposition, he pledged one of his top priorities will be to invest “massively” in post-secondary education.
“The only way to increase wealth in this society is to increase knowledge,” he said.
“So, we have to once again have the federal government engage in post-secondary education.”
Mulcair made the comments to the media in Kamloops on Tuesday, Jan. 11, during a stop as part of a provincewide tour to gather support for his leadership campaign.
Mulcair is the third candidate to visit the city during the leadership race to succeed the late Jack Layton.
Brian Topp was in Kamloops in October and MP Nathan Cullen visited in November.
Like Topp, Mulcair said he’s not trying to replace Layton, but build on the success he and the late leader accomplished together — specifically noting the breakthrough the party managed in Quebec, electing 59 MPs in that province.
Though the NDP might have found its way in much of Quebec, the party has been relegated to several second-place finishes in Kamloops after having NDP MP Nelson Riis represent the riding for 20 years, until 2000.
Mulcair said the party might need to have an “honest examination of conscience” and possibly change its approach in ridings that yielded poor results.
When it comes to the neverending debate over Senate reform, Mulcair said the Red Chamber’s abolition would have to take Quebec into account, noting the province would see it as a profound constitutional change.
He argued the party and country have other priorities before opening up a constitutional debate.
One of those priorities is for his party to pick a new leader.
Mulcair said the most important question facing party members in the campaign is who can defeat Prime Minister Stephen Harper, adding he believes he can do it.
Mulcair is one of eight candidates looking to lead the party following the death of Layton in August to cancer.
Other candidates include Paul Dewar, Peggy Nash, Niki Ashton, Roméo Saganash and Martin Singh.
The race to replace Layton began in September and will wind up with a leadership convention and vote in Toronto on March 24.