Tom Mulcair shows his sunny ways at NDP convention in Vancouver

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      The New Democrats suffered a serious setback in the October 19 federal election.

      But you would barely know it hearing NDP Leader Tom Mulcair speak at the NDP convention on Sunday (November 8) in Vancouver.

      He exuded "sunny ways", much like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

      Mulcair emphasized the NDP's success in B.C., where the party captured 14 of the province's 42 seats. He also highlighted how well the NDP did with its fundraising efforts.

      And he predicted that in 2019, an orange wave was going to start in B.C. and roll across the country.

      He didn't mention that the federal Liberals now own the seat-rich 604 and 416 area codes or how his party blew away many South Asian voters, turning Surrey into a Liberal fortress.

      When Stephen Harper lost the election, he took the blame and headed for the exit as leader.

      Mulcair, on the other hand, repeatedly speaks of his party's successes even though the NDP lost dozens upon dozens of incumbent MPs. It's bizarre.

      What's even more bizarre is that the vast majority of New Democrats appear to be indulging their leader in his fantastical evaluation of the election.

      This wasn't so with former provincial NDP leader Adrian Dix. After he blew the 2013 election, voices within the party immediately surfaced calling for his resignation. 

      From my post-election discussions, I've concluded that many NDP-leaning voters abandoned or nearly abandoned the party in the federal election for the following reason: they didn't think that Mulcair's platform went far enough in reversing damage wrought by the Conservatives.

      It was troubling to them that the NDP would not raise wealthy people's personal income taxes and insisted on balancing the budget every single year, regardless of economic circumstances.

      Stephen Lewis anecdote worth recalling

      In 2012, former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis told the Globe and Mail a memorable anecdote about Bob Rae, another former Ontario NDP leader.

      At the time, Lewis recalled that he and his wife, Michele Landsberg, had a private dinner with Rae and his wife before Rae ran for the provincial party leadership.

      According to Sandra Martin's article, Landsberg told Lewis afterward: “Did you not understand that he is not one of us? His basic convictions are not ours.”

      Lewis laughed if off and only years later came to realize that his wife was correct about Rae, who went on to join the Liberals.

      Nowadays, New Democrats (with the notable exception of political analyst Bill Tieleman) are in a similar state of denial about Mulcair. He's not a New Democrat in the style of former MP Libby Davies or even current B.C. MPs Peter Julian or Murray Rankin.

      Sooner or later, someone prominent in the NDP will utter this publicly.

      For now, high-profile party members are keeping their lips zipped because it's too soon to upset the fragile coalition between the Quebec and B.C. NDP caucuses. 

      So Mulcair gets a free pass.

      It reminds me of when B.C. NDP Leader Carole James seemed to claim victory at her first NDP provincial council gathering in Vancouver after losing the 2009 election.

      We all know how that story ended.

      Carole James bids adieu as B.C. NDP leader in 2010.