When I picked the order of preferred NDP leader coming out of Toronto, Tom Mulcair was at the bottom, primarily because he brings built in advantages that other candidates simply don't possess. There are no guarantees of anything, of course everything can and will happen, predictations largely irrelevant at this stage, but still one can see challenges for the Liberals with Mulcair at the helm.
Mulcair isn't an unknown in Quebec, when Liberals point to certain perceived traits that will undermine his leadership, that analysis tends to gloss over a politician who has a track record in his home province. Mulcair is a Quebecer, his political bent is also squarely in the pocket of the mainstream, there is every opportunity for this leader to shore up the gains made in the last election. This isn't to say Mulcair will succeed, only that he is well placed to do so. For the Liberals, some sort of resurgence in Quebec is an electoral must, Mulcair represents a stiff headwind, a considerable challenge, no doubt about it.
I would have preferred a "dyed in the wool" Dipper to emerge out of the convention. A Nash, a Topp, someone holding the traditional lines, because this stance speaks to a perceived limited base. However, Mulcair very much moves the NDP- whether a positive remains to be seen given reservations from certain NDP quarters- but there is potential with an updated philosophical presentation. The question becomes, will a Mulcair led NDP further "squeeze" the Liberals on the political spectrum.
Mulcair is a force in many respects, and we can make reasonable assumptions he will be a strong performer in Parliament. Not a question of ultimate resonance, because I do see real challenges, but with Mulcair, his strength will serve the NDP well in bubble Ottawa, as the NDP fight to change old mentalities and receive their electoral due.
Mulcair brings a potential rock solid regional base from which to grow. The Conservatives have a dependable geographic base, Mulcair offers the NDP a chance to solidify one of their own and if that occurs, it works to the Liberals disadvantage. Not pessimism, but perhaps a dose of realism, the gradient for the Liberals today seems slightly steeper in my view.