June 23, 2012 - 9:19amUpdated: June 23, 2012 - 10:40am
Federal Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair at the provincial NDP convention at the TCU Place on June 22, 2012. Fan-Yee Suen/News Talk Radio
Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair kick started this weekend’s provincial NDP convention on Friday with a rousing opening speech at the TCU Place, showcasing his charisma and outlining how the party will attract new supporters ahead of the 2015 election.
“The first task is to reach out beyond our traditional base and unite progressives of all stripes under the NDP banner,” Mulcair told delegates. He credited the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party for being trailblazers in this area for generations.
“Your federal cousins … well, we’ve got to get better at it in this province because despite our strong roots here, the federal New Democrats continue to be shut out,” said Mulcair. “And that’s something I promise I will change in the next election.”
Mulcair also talked about rallying young Canadians, inviting them into the political arena well before they turn 18.
“One of the biggest jobs that we have to do as we head into the next election – a job that we have to do across Canada – is to connect with young peopl,” he said.
The opposition leader, who grew up in rural Quebec, talked about voting in his first federal election.
“I remember which church basement and which rural Quebec municipality I went and voted that year,” said the 57-year-old leader. “And I was excited about voting.”
Mulcair made broad stroke comments about the economy and environment, saying that the two are not disparate issues.
“It’s false to oppose economy and environment – the two go hand in hand,” Mulcair told reporters. “We have to take care of our responsibility to future generations and the way to do that is to make sure the economic, the ecological and the social aspects of every problem that comes before government.”
Mulcair, who recently toured the oilsands in Alberta, also stuck to his message of making companies pay environmental costs and enforcing environmental legislation.
“We are in favour of development of the oilsands as long as it’s sustainable development that includes basic principles such as polluters pay.”