NDP leader Tom Mulcair discusses the economy in North Ontario tour

SUDBURY— Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has been one very busy official opposition helmsman this summer, especially over the last week as he has been on a whirlwind mid-summer tour of battleground Ontario. Mr. Mulcair called The Expositor for an exclusive interview as he travelled from Sudbury to an event in another Northern town on the eighth day of his tour.

Mr. Mulcair admits to being buoyed by the latest polls that show the NDP in the ascendance, but adds a word of caution into the mix. “Unfortunately you can’t put a poll in a ballot box,” he said. “We are going to continue to work non-stop to replace Mr. Harper and are working very hard to bring our positive message to people across the country.”

Among those messages are the NDP’s proposal to institute $15 a day quality daycare and “to bring back a real federal minimum wage of $15 per hour again.”

Mr. Mulcair said that Ontario will be a key battleground in the upcoming election and that he has been receiving a “great response” from those people he has been meeting across the province. He took a shot at Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s economic performance, particularly on the job creation front, an issue that Mr. Mulcair’s latest poll figures indicate is a good fit with the public’s perception of the NDP leader.

Mr. Mulcair noted that he was just leaving the Nippissing First Nation where he had experienced a “very respectful meeting.” Mr. Mulcair said that it was important to deal with First Nations issues on a “nation to nation basis.”

The NDP message for much of the rest of rural Northern Ontario is one of nurturing small to medium business and Mr. Mulcair said the NDP plan to reduce taxes on small and medium corporations from 11 to nine percent will help create new jobs and bolster employment in many small communities.

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes said that she found Mr. Mulcair’s reception in Sudbury to be “quite good. It was great to be with Tom today as he visits Northern Ontario, as he has done many times in the past and Manitoulin as well,” she said. “People were really pleased to see him.”

Ms. Hughes noted that the recent government cheques going out as part of the Child Tax Benefit are being ‘seen through’ by most people. “They know that most people will not be seeing much of a benefit after taxes,” she said. “What people really need is affordable daycare.”