Like every other nation in the world, Canada has its delicate sufficiency of problems. It suffers from a growing Muslim demographic and the cultural tensions this brings in its wake; is home to a potent eco-constituency that has bought into the Global Warming canard; shelters a plethora of misnamed Human Rights Commissions that are nothing more than kangaroo courts designed to stifle honest debate on the grounds that such may cause offense to “vulnerable” (or alternatively, “protected”) communities or individuals; harbors a persistent secessionary movement in the province of Quebec; boasts a Supreme Court filled to the brim with superannuated, politically correct apparatchiks who have no compunction about unanimously legislating against both the theory and practice of free speech; tolerates an aboriginal racket that exploits the country’s bad conscience and whose band chiefs prosper obscenely at taxpayers’ expense, thanks to an obsolete Indian Act; subsidizes a left-leaning national broadcaster, the CBC, that can always be counted on to slant the news in favor of a “progressivist” agenda; and, most alarmingly, comprises a vacillating, increasingly miseducated and credulous electorate that tends not to know where its best interests lie.

And, like any other country, Canada needs sane, responsible and principled governance, a “quantity” largely absent from this world. Although blessed by the advantages that accrue to a functioning electoral system, a comparatively virile economy, an abundance of natural resources, a decent and generous heritage culture, and friendly relations with its powerful southern neighbor in the modern era (post 1812-1814), Canadians should take a hard look at the current political map if they wish to avoid the worst of the economic and social stresses afflicting the U.S. and much of Europe.

Of Canada’s five national parties, two are presently insignificant — the Green Party with one parliamentary seat and the separatist Bloc Québécois with five (down from 47 at Parliament’s dissolution in 2011). The three major parties — the Liberal Party of Canada, the New Democratic Party (NDP), and the governing Conservative Party of Canada — remain in constant contention. Each of these parties, of course, is defined, shaped and colored by the personality of its leader. Let us consider what the leader — or in one case, the potential leader — of each of the dominant parties has going for him.

Thomas Mulcair, who heads the NDP enjoys: the mantle of the late Jack Layton, who as former leader cleverly played the role of hero of the common man (a street has been named after him in Toronto); a party history of liberal socialism that attracts many Canadians; a robust foundation among Quebec nationalists, the NDP having profited from the collapse of the sovereignist Bloc Québécois to win 59 out of 75 Quebec ridings in the 2011 election; the parliamentary status of Official Opposition, its total of 103 seats (diminishing now with defections) second only to the Conservatives 163 (as of 2012); and the vote-rich endorsement of the Muslim Canadian Congress.