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The big win for the Liberal Party of Canada on October 19 was not just a condemnation of the reactionary, despotic rule of the Stephen Harper-led Conservatives; it was an indictment of the centrist political direction of the NDP leadership under Tom Mulcair.

In the words of a Globe and Mail columnist, published on voting day, “The most unpardonable mistake, however, was to think the NDP could move blandly to the centre without the Liberal Party filling not only the progressive vacuum left behind but also seizing the ‘change’ mantle that allowed it to claim its legitimacy as the true alternative to the Tories.”

Canada’s ‘first past the post’ electoral system grossly exaggerated the parliamentary outcome in favour of the Liberals, but there is no denying the massive shift of votes to the Liberals from the labour-based NDP which campaigned like a ‘balance the budget at all costs’ big business party.

In the wake of “the NDP’s disastrous move to the mushy middle” (Desmond Cole, Toronto Star, October 15), the NDP Socialist Caucus calls on Tom Mulcair to resign as federal leader and for the party’s federal executive to set in motion a process to select a new leader and adopt a new political course that will advance the interests of working people and the oppressed.

The NDP ‘brain trust’, including Brad Lavigne and Ann McGrath, should go too. They disappeared the party’s adopted policy resolutions from the NDP web site. They blocked or removed pro-Palestine New Democrats from being party candidates in the election. They silenced Linda McQuaig for stating the obvious – that oil and gas resources must be left in the ground if Canada is to meet its carbon emission goals and curb catastrophic climate change.

The problem is not just the Leader and a set of party officials, but a super-centralized apparatus and an entire political direction that thwarts the needs and aspirations of millions of working people. Lasting change must occur from the bottom-up, and that must include the removal of the Leader and officials who are not listening to the membership.

The NDP, the only mass, labour-based political party in North America remains viable as a potential leftist challenger to capitalist austerity, climate injustice, social inequality, racism, sexism and war. Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning leadership victory in the British Labour Party, ongoing grassroots opposition to the EU bankers’ agenda, and even the ouster of the hated Stephen Harper regime in Ottawa all show a big appetite for fundamental change. That is the agenda the NDP Socialist Caucus vigorously advances.

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