After winning 59 seats in Quebec in the last federal election, the NDP has announced plans to build a provincial party there.
The party has never had a provincial wing in Quebec run a full roster of candidates. Prior to 2011, they had only ever won one seat in La Belle Province. That seat was won in a 2007 by-election by Thomas Mulcair, now the leader of the New Democrats. The party’s breakthrough in Quebec is attributed to hard work by former leader Jack Layton who always wanted to win Quebec, and to Mulcair who raised the party’s image in that province after winning Outremont.
Mulcair was concerned about the party’s membership numbers in the province, but those numbers grew during the leadership race and should continue to grow with 58 MPs representing all regions.
The party will have four years to prepare. Quebec is in the midst of a provincial election at the moment, with a vote scheduled September 4. There are four parties vying for government this year — the Liberals, led by current Premier Jean Charest, the Parti Quebecois, Quebec Solidaire and the Coalition Avenir Quebec, led by François Legault, a former member of Charest’s cabinet.
At the moment, the race is between Pauline Marois’ Parti Quebecois, a separatist party, and Jean Charest’s Liberals, who are facing accusations of corruption. There appears to be plenty of room for a new party that promises progressive policies and also wants Quebec to remain a part of Canada.
Photo Credit: Matt Jiggins