Skip to main content

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair addresses supporters at a campaign event in Toronto on Oct. 5, 2015. The NDP, which held 95 House of Commons seats before the campaign began, emerged with just 44 seatsRyan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair will ask defeated MPs and party veterans to examine what went wrong during the election campaign that cost him half of his caucus.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Mulcair said Thursday he will set up a committee of between four to six people — a mix of former MPs and party stalwarts — to examine the reasons behind the loss.

"I especially want to make sure that we learn the lessons that need to be learned from this campaign," Mulcair said in an interview in his office, filled with boxes as he and his staff prepare to move to a still-undetermined location.

Asked if he had an idea of who would sit on such a panel, Mulcair said he's just getting started on the names.

"I'm just compiling a list today and we will look at this over the next week," Mulcair said.

Possible candidates include veterans like Megan Leslie, Jack Harris, Pat Martin, Peter Stoffer and Nycole Turmel, all of whom were defeated in last week's vote. Former party leader like Ed Broadbent could also make the list.

Mulcair said he wants a report on the party's defeat by the end of January.

The NDP, which held 95 House of Commons seats before the campaign began, emerged with just 44 seats — a crushing result, considering the party was topping most polls at the beginning of August.

In 2011, Jack Layton won 103, seats thanks in part to the so-called Orange Wave that swept Quebec.

Defeated parties usually have a tradition of inviting defeated MPs to the inaugural caucus meeting following the election, but Mulcair said that won't be happening in the case of the NDP.

He did, however, speak personally to defeated candidates the day after the election and also reiterated that he intends to stay on party leader and lead the NDP into the next federal election in four years.

"Absolutely, I am here with a strong delegation, the second strongest in the party's history," Mulcair said. "Three-and-a-half million Canadians, despite the (Liberal) wave, put their trust in the NDP's vision."

He intends to hold the Liberals to their numerous promises.

"The tone for us, from the start, is going to be: 'This is what you said you would do. Will you do it?"'

Until then, Mulcair intends to champion the issue of Syrian refugees, of which prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau has promised to bring some 25,000 to Canada by the end of the year — a colossal logistical challenge. The Liberals will be measured by what they can actually deliver, he added.

A former provincial environment minister, Mulcair will also be active on the climate change file.

Mulcair said he read that prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau has invited opposition parties and provincial premiers to attend the UN Conference on Climate Change, taking place Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris.

The NDP leader said he hasn't received an invite — formal or informal — but would be delighted to participate and lend his experience.

Mulcair wants to see Canada adopt a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.