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Five reasons to get behind NDP's Thomas Mulcair

Thomas Mulcair is the NDP’s only shot at defeating Harper, and his aggressive attitude may just be what’s needed to stand up to bullies in Ottawa.

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And of course, many of the important issues raised by other candidates in the leadership race will not just disappear.

British Columbia MP Nathan Cullen, for instance, used his leadership campaign to thrust a major BC issue (the Northern Gateway pipeline debate) under the national spotlight. Just like his support for cooperation between Liberals, Greens and NDP, Cullen’s attention to the pipeline issue has struck a chord with Canadian voters that will be impossible for Mulcair to ignore.

Whatever occurred between candidates in the battle for leadership, everyone seems to understand how important it is now to stick together, while at the same time giving voice to varying perspectives within the party.

4) He’s got a history of standing up for “the little guy”

As Quebec’s environment minister in 2003, Mulcair abandoned a family vacation to visit Robert Galbraith, a resident in the midst of an 18-day hunger strike over toxic algae in Lake Champlain.

In 2008, he made a desperate plea to immigration minister Diane Finley to intervene on behalf of a gay Malaysian refugee who feared persecution when returning to a predominantly Muslim country. According to a report in gay and lesbian news weekly Xtra!, Mulcair had "tears in his eyes at a press conference" as he urged the government not to deport the refugee. Tough and aggressive as he is, Mulcair is no homophobe.

Whether it’s pushing for LGBTQ rights in immigration or addressing Canadians’ problems on a personal basis, Mulcair has proven his dedication by going out on a limb for individuals and underdogs.

5) He's got support in Quebec

After the 2011 election, the New Democratic Party celebrated its very first shot in Parliament as the Official Opposition. And as many experts have noted, the party's unprecedented jump in seats came as a result of historic gains in Quebec.

As the first MP to hold an NDP seat in the province in decades, Mulcair was seen by many as the most obvious choice to maintain those gains. Montreal Gazette columnist Don Macpherson explained that from a Quebec perspective, the leadership race was simple.

“In Quebec, the NDP leadership campaign was never anything but a onehorse race, and the horse was named Mulcair,” he said.

When Mulcair first announced he was running for the NDP, the late Jack Layton had expressed his faith that the former Liberal could be instrumental to gain some momentum in “La Belle Province”.

"I think it would be fair to say an NDP breakthrough in Quebec is one of those bigger dreams, and Tom is definitely a dream come true," Layton said.

While Mulcair’s election as leader doesn’t necessarily mean a home run for Quebec in 2015, it has at least given fearful New Democrats more hope that the solid base of seats in the province won’t be lost.

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