As was predicted on your favourite equine-themed politics blog, Thomas Mulcair has announced today that he has joined the NDP and will be Layton’s Québec lieutenant in the next election.
Mulcair of course, has been a Liberal MNA from 1994 to 2006 including time in cabinet as minister of the environment.
For a host of reasons, his decision to join the NDP is of monumental significance not just to the NDP but to federal politics in Québec.
For the first time since 1988, the NDP is ready to start electing MPs in Québec. Last month’s election signaled that politics in the province is fluid and ripe for change. Mulcair’s candidacy is the clearest signal that Québecers looking for that change need only turn to Jack Layton and the NDP.
Not to be missed in this is the endorsement it represents of Jack Layton’s strong leadership on the environment. As a former environment minister who introduced sweeping environmental protection legislation and fought passionately in favour of Kyoto, Mulcair was aggressively courted by both the Conservatives and Liberals. Instead he chose the NDP: a party with no seats in the province, but an ambitious environmental plan that will resonate with Québecers.
At this point, it’s still not clear where we can expect to see “Elect Mulcair” signs show up but a lot of wags are pushing towards the Outremont by-election vacated by Liberal, then Bloc Québecois, then Liberal MP Jean Lapierre.