Thomas Mulcair was elected as the new leader of the federal NDP at the weekend leadership convention.

Kootenay NDP leaders react to new federal leader

Thomas Mulcair was elected as the new leader of the NDP on the weekend and Nelson leaders react to the leader.

Nelson-Creston NDP MLA Michelle Mungall was backing Brian Topp and BC Southern Interior NDP MP Alex Atamanenko supported Nathan Cullen, but when the new leader of the federal NDP was elected on Sunday it was Thomas Mulcair.

“I’m confident that he will lead our party well,” Atamanenko told the Star on Monday. “He’s not by himself. We’re all behind him.”

Atamanenko appreciated Cullen’s support around food sovereignty and his commitment “to co-operation to defeat the Conservatives,” but feels that Mulcair’s experience and strength in question period will help make him a tough leader.

“We need to work together to inform government and stay true to our social democratic principles,” said Atamanenko.

Mungall — who was in Ottawa during the NDP convention — said the mood throughout the day was positive.

“I had friends there in all the different campaigns and there was just a really strong positive atmosphere,” she said.

Early into the federal NDP leadership campaign, Mungall had supported Brian Topp.

Topp — who visited Nelson in October — was the former NDP party president.

“No one can fill Jack Layton’s shoes, but we’re all strongly behind Thomas,” said Mungall. “One of the things that made Jack stand out was his smile. No one will forget that, and Mulcair will bring his own strengths to the party.”

Like Layton, Mungall said that Mulcair will be important strategically with Quebec voters.

“I think that by having Libby Davies as deputy leader, Mulcair is showing his commitment to the West and making sure that we have a strong voice in Ottawa,” said Mungall.

Cullen stopped by Nelson in November.

Other candidates in the campaign included Peggy Nash, Niki Ashton, Paul Dewar and Martin Singh.


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