Friday September 16,



Written by Alan Hustak for VMO
Wednesday, March 18th,

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair used his speech to the annual St. Patrick Society luncheon to recall his Catholic origins and the influence of his high school chaplain, the late Father Alan Cox.

“He engaged us,” Mulcair told VMO after the talk. “He made us realize we wouldn’t amount to much if all we did was watch television.”

Mulcair was 14 years old and a student at Chomedey Catholic High School when Cox took him and other students on a working field trip to Ireland.

The experience, Canada’s Official Opposition Leader told the crowd of 400, helped him appreciate the history of Irish involvement in the community.

Mulcair acknowledged Father Cox as a mentor and a positive influence in his life: a tough but inspiring priest. Cox was 78 when he died last November.

He was a well-known social activist who organized Saturday subway rides from Laval into Montreal so his students could engage in good works and help families in poorer neighborhoods.

“He forced young people to think for themselves. He embodied critical thinking,” the NDP leader said. “He was hard on us, yes, but he practiced what he preached.”

Mulcair proved himself a dab hand at the practice of political coyness, however, when asked by VMO if he remains a practicing Catholic.

“I am still a believer,” he said.

His speech, the first time he has spoken to the St. Patrick’s luncheon in 12 years, was mainly non-partisan and largely light-hearted.

He admitted he thought twice about wearing the official colour of the NDP: Protestant orange. Instead, he exercised the virtue of prudence by wearing green to address a nominally Catholic organization.

But he also made the serious point that the Irish Proclamation of Independence, which marks its centenary next year, led the world in enshrining religious and civil equality rights.

“It was so far ahead of its time,” Mulcair said. “As one who shares an Irish heritage and the history of our country, I believe we should be open to everyone, irrespective of origin or religion.”

He joked about his own reputation for grimness but managed to turn it into a dig at Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“There are those who say I don’t smile often. But it is hard to smile when you have to look at Stephen Harper day after day after day,” he said.

Applause, following the remark, was scattered.


Last Night at the Gayete


By Deborah Rankin

The Centaur Theatre's - season is drawing to a close with its final production of Last Night at the Gayety, a musical comedy by Bowser & Blue which runs until May 22nd.

Read more


The Church is called to walk with Jesus on the roads of the world, in order to meet the humanity of today.

by Pope Francis

Pillars Trust Fund

Paul Donovan walks the Camino Ignatiano

Follow former Loyola High School principal, Paul Donovan, as he walks the famous 700km Camino Ignatiano.



Read his blog


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