Here are 10 surprising facts about the man who wants to be Canada’s next prime minister.
10. He Used To Be A Liberal
Mulcair was Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks in Jean Charest’s Liberal government in Quebec. He served in the role from 2003-2006.
8. He’s French (Kind Of)
Mulcair married Catherine Pinhas in 1976. She was born in France to a Turkish family of Sephardic Jewish descent. Mulcair has French citizenship through his marriage, as do the couple’s two sons.
7. They Used To Be Friends
Mulcair left Charest’s Liberal government in Quebec after he was offered the position of Minister of Government Services in 2006, an apparent demotion from Minister of the Environment. Mulcair has said his ouster was related to his opposition to a government plan to transfer land in the Mont Orford provincial park to condo developers.
6. Ancestor Was Premier Of Quebec
Mulcair’s great-great-grandfather on his mother’s side was Honoré Mercier, the ninth premier of Quebec.
5. First!
Mulcair was the first New Democrat to win a riding in Quebec during a federal election. He held the riding of Outremont during the 2008 election after first winning the seat in a 2007 by-election. Phil Edmonston was the first New Democrat to win a seat in Quebec, but his win came in a 1990 by-election. Robert Toupin was the very first to bring a Quebec seat to the NDP, but he did it in 1986 by crossing the floor.
4. He’s Half Irish.
Mulcair’s father Harry Donnelly Mulcair was Irish-Canada and his mother Jeanne French-Canadian. His father spoke to him in English and his mother in French — explaining his fluency in both official languages.
3. He Votes In France
Muclair has voted in past French elections, but says that now that he is leader of the Official Opposition he will not take part in the upcoming French presidential vote.
2. Young Love At First Sight
Mulcair met his future wife at a wedding when they were both teenagers. Catherine was visiting from France. They married two years later when they were both 21.
1. Mr. Angry
Mulcair was given the moniker in a Maclean’s headline, but the new leader of the NDP has long been known for his short fuse. In 2005, he was fined $95,000 for defamatory comments he made about former PQ minister Yves Duhaime on TV. The comments included French vulgarity and an accusation that alleged influence peddling would land Duhaime in prison.