There is a lot of speculation going the rounds about whether or to what degree Thomas Mulcair will change the direction of the federal New Democratic Party. Mulcair, as everyone who pays attention to Canadian politics knows by now, emerged the winner in the NDP’s contest to replace deceased leader Jack Layton. In the fourth and final vote at the March 24 convention in Toronto, Mulcair scored 57% against runner-up Brian Topp’s 43 percent. The election of the party’s most prominent Quebec MP was no big surprise, especially in Quebec where it was widely considered the logical outcome to the NDP’s upset gains in last year’s federal election when the party won 59 of the province’s 75 MPs — 60% of the NDP’s parliamentary caucus, making the party the Official Opposition and thus a credible contender for government for the first time in its history. But what does the election of this former Liberal mean for the future of the NDP? The answer is not entirely clear, although clues abound.