Day 6: NDP in Quebec
Posted by Joanna Smith, Ottawa Bureau
New Democrat Leader Jack Layton heads to Montreal today, where the party holds just one seat but hopes to capitalize on recent poll numbers to expand in the province.
Layton will make an announcement at Insertech Angus at 11 a.m. The institution provides personalized training programs to young unemployed adults so they can enter the job market with the skills they need, so expect the policy announcement to cover that topic. He will spend much of the afternoon taping an episode of Tout le monde en parle, an irreverent and highly popular current affairs talk show on Radio-Canada, and taking part in an editorial board meeting at a Montreal newspaper.
Everyone had been expecting Layton to stop in Outremont – the former Liberal fortress where Thomas Mulcair won his seat in a 2007 by-election – but the riding the NDP bus stops in today is Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, which the Bloc Quebecois has held since its formation in 1990. Bernard Bigras won by a landslide in the 2008 election, receiving 52 per cent of the votes. The Liberal candidate placed a distant second with 18.7 per cent of the vote share, but the NDP came in third with only 1,263 fewer votes. Capturing the seat from the Bloc remains highly unlikely, but it looks like there is at least a battle for second place.
The unique political landscape of Quebec, where the Bloc takes much of the progressive vote, has made it difficult for the NDP to be a player in the province, but party officials have been quick to point to recent Quebec-only polls that put them in second place, about 10 points ahead of the Liberals.