Day 21: NDP Leader Jack Layton in Montreal and Prince Edward Island
Posted by Joanna Smith, Ottawa Bureau
After having spent his first day of post-debates campaigning with a visit to Scwartz's delicatessen and watching the Montreal Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins 2-0 in the first round of the NHL play-offs, New Democrat Leader Jack Layton begins Friday with another quintessential Montreal past-time: stopping by the Jean-Talon Market. Layton will then ride the underground Metro for a few stops.
This is in the riding of Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, which the Bloc Quebecois has held since 1990. Bloc incumbent Bernard Bigras won by a landslide in the 2008 election, receiving 52 per cent of the votes, but Layton has been campaigning hard against the Bloc, trying to build on the breakthrough 2007 by-election that sent NDP deputy leader Thomas Mulcair to the House of Commons to represent the former Liberal fortress of Outremont.
Expect Layton to continue trying to convince anti-Harper Quebec voters who have previously cast their ballots for the Bloc to come over to his side, with the argument that while the Bloc can keep the Conservatives from getting a majority government, the NDP could (in theory) replace it. Buoyed by recent Quebec-only polls that put the NDP in second place in the province, well ahead of the Liberals, the NDP is selling itself as the main federalist player in Quebec.
The second half of the day will be in Prince Edward Island, where Layton will be the first party leader to visit in this campaign. He will stop by the East Coast Music Awards in Charlottetown and then go to Seven Miles Bay to make an unspecified announcement.