The return of Tom Mulcair? Some New Democrats claim that he was illegitimately ousted as party leader

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      At the moment, the most popular article on is "Who will replace Jagmeet Singh as leader of the federal NDP?".

      Yesterday was a slow news day, so I decided to compile a list of possible successors to the embattled politician.

      It seemed like a worthwhile exercise, given the federal NDP's low standing in the polls and the number of NDP MPs not seeking reelection next year.

      After the article started circulating on social media, I was tagged on a tweet from the Bring Back Tom Mulcair Campaign.

      "You missed one," the message said.

      The obvious implication is that Mulcair should be added to the list of potential successors to Singh.

      Naturally, this piqued my curiosity.

      I quickly learned that a former NDP candidate in Richmond, Dale Jackaman, chairs the campaign to bring back Mulcair.

      Moreover, Jackaman wrote a 23-page report, last updated on September 28, which spells out his serious objections over how Mulcair was ousted as leader.

      Jackaman, who's a licensed private investigator, went into considerable detail about the delegate-selection process for the April 2016 convention in Edmonton. That's where Mulcair only received 48 percent support.

      At the time, it stunned the country because many felt that Mulcair would survive a leadership review.

      "We expected Tom to pass this test handily," Jackaman wrote in the report, "but when the results came out they did not make sense given the national leadership polling results at the time."

      Delegate-selection process questioned

      He pointed out that the federal NDP has a formula for proportional representation.

      This permits each electoral district association to send a strictly designated number of delegates to a convention based on its overall membership.

      It ensures that regions have a voice at the convention that's proportional to the number of party members.

      Jackaman maintained in his report, however, that this formula was not followed at the Edmonton convention, violating the party's constitution.

      That's because delegates were permitted to register and receive credentials as part of riding allotments where they did not reside.

      For example, if more New Democrats in Vancouver Kingsway wanted to attend the convention than were allotted through formula, they could apply for credentials online. And they would be added to the totals of ridings that could not send as many delegates as they were permitted.

      As a result, Jackaman declared that Alberta was likely overrepresented as a province and Edmonton was likely overrepresented as a city in the delegate numbers. That's because it's far less expensive for people living in Edmonton, for example, to attend a convention in their own city than for those to travel from Atlantic Canada.

      Dale Jackaman (right) was an NDP candidate in Richmond in three federal elections while Jack Layton was leading the party.
      Dale Jackaman

      Alberta New Democrats tended to be more hostile to Mulcair than New Democrats in other parts of the country. That was reflected in polling and also in the reaction in Alberta to Mulcair's comments about Canada suffering from "Dutch disease" due to its oil exports driving up the value of the dollar.

      In his report, Jackaman expressed the belief that Alberta's greater degree of antipathy to Mulcair tipped the vote toward dumping him as party leader.

      "The party's decision to accredit these fake delegates—those who lived in an EDA that had filled their own delegate allotment but who were assigned ad hoc to represent another EDA that could not send a full allotment—is the root of the problem," Jackaman wrote. "Unfortunately, during the course of our inquiry we learned that this practice of accrediting extra 'fake' delegates has been employed in past conventions as well as in Edmonton.

      "The party admits to this fact and has attempted to use past precedent as an excuse for this unconstitutional and unethical practice in Edmonton," he continued. "We reject this defence."

      Right wingers targeted provincial wing

      Complicating matters further was the "Kudatah" movement of right-wing Albertans who were trying to get a foothold in the Alberta provincial NDP in early 2016.

      The provincial and federal wings of the party ended up vetoing more than 1,500 memberships, according to Jackaman's report. 

      "The conservative Kudatah movement in Alberta had a very strong motive for infiltrating the NDP convention, namely to sabotage the operations of our party" Jackaman wrote. "This movement had also recently proven that it had the organizational means to pull of such subterfuge, and the opportunity to do so thanks to the ad hoc and unconstitutional accreditation of fake delegates by party administrators.

      "The confluence of these circumstances can only be described as 'The Alberta Factor' and we believe that they, in whole or in part, explain the illegitimate deposition of our leader at this convention."

      Jackaman has tried without success to get the party to provide two tallies: the number of delegates at the convention by riding and the number of delegates by their home riding.

      According to him, the party "won't divulge how many fake delegate credentials were issued".

      And when Jackaman wrote to NDP MPs seeking their help, the caucus wrote back to say that this is a matter for the party executive to address.

      "We are very confident in our believe that, had our constitution been upheld and proportionality between EDAs and affiliates in the delegate body been upheld, that the decisions made in Edmonton would have differed greatly," Jackaman wrote. "Specifically that Mr. Mulcair would have had the confidence of a critical mass of NDP members across Canada.

      "As a result, we do not believe that he would have felt obliged to offer his resignation following a properly delegated convention."

      Mulcair vacated his Outremont seat on August 3.

      He's accepted a teaching position at Université de Montreal and appears periodically as a political commentator on CTV.