Jack Layton and a record 102 other NDP MPs

Today Jack Layton announced the composition of the shadow cabinet that will take on the Conservatives when Parliament resumes on June 2. For those who don’t obsessively follow politics, a shadow cabinet is the group of MPs who will serve as critics to the government’s ministers. A critic is tasked with holding their government counterpart to account, and is the main voice of opposition on issues relating to the ministry for which they are responsible.

For the first time in their history the NDP are the Official Opposition, and the government in waiting for the next four years. As such, a strong front bench that will be able to stand up to the Conservative agenda is critical.

Looking down the list I am impressed by the calibre of the NDP MPs, but also by the artful juggling act undertaken by Layton to produce a well-balanced shadow cabinet where no one looks out of place.

In particular, the representation of women and Quebec is great to see.


The NDP shadow cabinet is 40% female, which reflects the record percentage of female candidates the party fielded in the last election. The NDP ran strong female candidates, and is now putting them in positions of power.

This compares to a Conservative cabinet which boasts only eight female ministers (22%) and is once again overrun with old white men.

The NDP was able to draw on the strength of returning heavyweights like Libby Davies (Health) Olivia Chow (Transport) Megan Leslie (Environment) and Peggy Nash, who returns to Parliament after losing her seat in 2008 to take on the all important Finance critic position. Other returnees include Linda Duncan (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development), Irene Mathyssen (Minister of State for Seniors) and Jean Crowder.

While the NDP will rely on the experience and skill of these veterans, there’s a lot to get excited about when it comes to the rookies.

Nycole Turmel

Nycole Turmel, the former national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, becomes Caucus Chair and critic for Public Works. Although she had left by the time I started working for PSAC, my colleagues are universally enamoured with her drive, determination and principles, and I’m thrilled to see her in such an important position.

Hélène Laverdière, a former Canadian diplomat who resigned her position over philosophical differences with the Harper government, will be the critic for International Cooperation. Her energy and intelligence (she holds a PhD and used to teach university) will be needed as she tries to explain the meaning of the word “cooperation” to the Conservatives.

New NDP MP Francoise Boivin

Francoise Boivin, a lawyer and former Liberal MP, will go head to head with Rona Ambrose in the Status of Women portfolio. She is an extremely intelligent and articulate advocate and I’m looking forward to seeing her contrast herself with the less than impressive Ms. Ambrose.

Meanwhile Marie-Claude Morin (Housing), Rathika Sitsabaiesan (Post-Secondary Education), Manon Perreault (Disabilities) and Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Skills) will each take on different parts of the Human Resources and Skills Development portfolio, with returning MP Jean Crowder as the principal critic. Claude Patry (Employment Insurance) will round out the field. I love that it’s been broken up, as each of these sub domains are near and dear to the NDP’s heart. With a dedicated critic for each, these issues will get their due.

The other rookies are Christine Moore, who will go head to head with everyone’s favourite Con, Julian Fantino, as critic for Military Procurement. Look to see this up and comer from Northern Quebec hold Fantino’s feet to the fire on jets without engines and other boondoggles.

Hélène Leblanc will be up against Gary Goodyear, the Minister of State for Science and Technology. Given that he believes the earth is six thousand years old, and she is an educator and agronomist with degrees in education and agriculture and the environment, I like her odds.

Finally Paulina Ayala will be the critic for the Minister of State for the Americas and Consular Affairs, Diane Ablonczy. She was born in Chile and was a leader in the student movement and in citizens rights organizations fighting the Pinochet dictatorship.


40% of the shadow cabinet is from Quebec, which is not surprising given that the 59 seats the NDP won here are more than they have in the rest of the country combined. All of the rookie women I mentioned above, with the exception of Rathika Sitsabaiesan, are from Quebec. They will be joined by a number of talented men from here.

Jack Layton and Tom Mulcair at a Habs game

Tom Mulcair is rewarded for his role in delivering Quebec to the NDP with the role of House Leader, aka second in command. His tenacious determination and incorrigible optimism got the NDP this far in Quebec, and much will be expected of him as the elder statesman in a provincial caucus otherwise consisting of rookies.

Alexandre Boulerice is a union man (as are many of the new NDP members) who was most recently with CUPE. He has run and lost several times before breaking through, and although he’s a rookie MP he will bring a lot to the table in terms of experience with the party. He’ll have the weighty assignment of Treasury Board, where his intelligence and rock solid progressive principles will be called upon to go toe to toe with Tony Clement.

Tyrone Benskin

Tyrone Benskin is the former National VP of ACTRA (the union for actors) and Artistic Director of Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop. His wealth of knowledge and practical experience at ACTRA make him a natural fit for the Heritage portfolio. This is
an area where the NDP matches up particularly favourably with the Cons, who haven’t recovered from blasting artists for being lazy bums who spend all their time at lavish taxpayer funded galas, and Benskin will be counted upon to be a strong defender of everything from the CBC to freedom of expression for musicians as the Cons go on the offensive against Canadian culture.

Pierre Nantel, formerly the artistic director at the Cirque du Soleil will take on Sport, while his South Shore colleague Hoang Mai (another veteran of multiple campaigns) will be responsible for the important National Revenue post. Both are dynamic, well qualified MPs and I’m thrilled to see them in the shadow cabinet.

Romeo Saganash and Jack Layton

Romeo Saganash is a hugely respected Cree leader and a star candidate who had a good chance of winning in northern Quebec even before the surge. A former representative to the U.N., Saganash is no stranger to politics and he will take on Natural Resources, where his talents will stand him in good stead.

Raymond Côté rounds out the Quebec contingent, and he will take on Small Business and Tourism. His counterpart on the government benches will be the disgraced but inexplicably back in cabinet Maxime Bernier.

Bottom line?

The NDP shadow cabinet is good. Scary good. These people’s intelligence, talent and dedication are going to impress the hell out of Canadians over the next four years, especially in comparison to the Cons front bench.

Today Jack Layton took the first step along the long and winding road to replacing the Conservatives in four years. For my money, it was a damn good first step.


I skipped some big ones, like Joe Comartin in Justice, because they weren’t women or from Quebec. Here’s the full list: NDP Shadow Cabinet



What an election, huh? Quebec went from light blue to orange, Ontario went from red to dark blue and British Columbia now has a shade of green. If I were a religious man I’d say it’s a sign of the apocalypse. The Conservative Majority aside though, the biggest surprise was obviously Quebec’s orange crush. I thought the NDP would do well, but going from 1 to 59 seats is unheard of.

How did they do it? Well, for starters, voters aged 18 24 voted more for the NDP in every province except Alberta, and they did so without the NDP even really appealing to that age group. As for La Belle Province, Quebecers have a low tolerance for B.S., and virtually every protest vote joined the orange wave. When a region overwhelmingly votes in protest however, MPs who aren’t bilingual, who didn’t campaign and who have never been to their riding end up getting elected. That’s just the way it is. It’s better to have a nobody than to actually have nobody.

Pierre-Luc Dusseault; Youngest MP ever

The NDP managed to elect 103 MPs to Parliament on May 2nd; 20 of those MPs are under the age  of thirty, and most are from Quebec. One of those is even under twenty, 19-year-old Pierre-Luc Dusseault, a student of applied politics who now becomes the youngest Member of Parliament in Canadian history. He not only voted for the first time, but got elected for the first time! The Quebec NDP youth brigade also includes four students from McGill, and of course the more publicized (and scorned) Ruth Ellen Brosseau.

Since Election Day, the Layton Youth have been getting a bad rap in the media and by colleagues of mine, and without so much as an hour’s work under their belt. Now that these kids are in the public eye, some say, such criticism is fair game and all part of the job. They could have a point. What’s pointless, however, is to scrutinize someone simply for their age, when the the fact remains we don’t yet know what these newbies are even capable of.   After all, as Mr. Layton said, “We send our youngsters to Afghanistan, why not Parliament?”

I’m of the opinion that these young MPs are going to work far harder than the average 56-year-old Member of Parliament who’s been at it for twenty or thirty years. They’re young, ambitious and have a lot to prove, but more importantly, they have more to lose. They are more aware than anyone that it will be a lot harder to get re-elected four years from now.

These new NDP MPs might be inexperienced, but they deserve the benefit of the doubt; one of them just might be our Prime Minister one day. Either way, what an opportunity to prove themselves in front of the whole country at such a young age. Personally, I’m jealous.

Good luck boys and girls!

You can follow Quiet Mike on Twitter at @MWeishar

I remember back in November of 2004 the headline on the cover of the Daily Mirror, the UK tabloid newspaper. It read “How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?” referring to the number of people who voted to re-elect George W. Bush. I can’t wait to see the headline when we re-elect Stephen Harper for a third time.

In the Canadian election of 2008 there were 5 209 069 people who voted Conservative. This time around the Conservatives are in line to receive roughly the same amount if not more. Don’t worry though, I won’t be saying on Election Day how five or six million Canadians could be so dumb, but I will wonder how that many can be so blind.

Stephen Harper’s Conservative base is roughly 20% of the populace. These people will vote for him regardless of his record, they are the ones who share in Harper’s core values comparable to the Neo-Cons in the U.S. They are traditionally religious, pro-life and pro-war with reservations regarding gays and the poor. If Harper wins this election I won’t be blaming them however, I’ll be blaming the other 20% who vote against their own beliefs and without the knowledge that the Conservative Party under Harper is both dictatorial and corrupt.

I need more hands to count the number of controversies and political flaps that have dogged the Prime Minister in the last five years, but here is a list of the top ten I got from “Much Ado about Stupidity“. I could not independently confirm the facts of the whole list, but these ones I could:

1.       Prorogued Parliament (twice!) to cover up/interrupt investigations into misconduct in his cabinet.

2.       Refused to take responsibility for the detainment and torture of Taliban soldiers.

3.       Ignored elections act legislation by “in-and-outing” large cash sums to individual ridings to defraud tax-payers and fund local candidates.

4.       Used the RCMP to suppress free-speech during the G8/G20 summit (and spent 1 billion on that security)

5.       Appointed a creationist as science minister (who refused to answer questions about evolution because “it was against his religious beliefs”).

6.       Got Canada voted out of the UN Security Council for the first time in history.

7.       Has been an ardent supporter of the oil-sands, and enemy of environmentalism. Since he was elected, Canada has had the worst environmental record of any of the G8 nations.

8.       Used $50 million of a G8 legacy fund to pay for projects in Tony Clement’s riding of Muskoka/Parry Sound, despite the bulk of the projects having nothing to do with the G8/G20 and being, in some cases, 100 km away from any of the summit sites (all of this without the approval of parliament).

9.       Did not investigate the “Bev Oda” scandal, in which one of his own ministers penciled in a “not” that denied federal funding to an international aid organization, and then lied about it.

10.       Misrepresented a quote from auditor general Sheila Fraser to make it sound like she supported the Harper Government’s handling of the G8 money (she was in fact referring to the Liberal handling of the 9/11 relief fund).

I’m not sure what it will take to convince the 20% of rights, centrists and undecided voters to wake up and smell the Tim Horton’s coffee. The opposition parties have tried and done their best, it’s now time for the people to get informed. Some people say that a vote for a lesser party is a wasted vote; I think the only wasted vote is one that is uninformed. One thing is for certain, if nothing changes in the coming week we will have the blind once again being led by the blank.

You Can Follow Quiet Mike on Twitter at @MWeishar

Harper Mugshot courtesy of The Hammer

With Facebook and Twitter alight with news and people’s voices on the impending election, and the media reporting every last controversy it can uncover, Canadians across the country still complain that the real issues are not being tackled.   But at least one issue in this campaign has its own day.

Ten days before the election, on April 22, Earth Day gives Canadians and people around the world the chance to focus on the environment.   But the question is: does anyone really care?

If you follow the election campaign, the answer would be no.   The funny thing is that back in 1970, it was a Wisconsin politician, Gaylord Nelson, who started Earth Day.   But even though our leaders aren’t talking about it, get back to reality and you’ll find the environment is front and centre.   Start at the computer.   Earth Day was trending on Twitter in Canada hours before the Montreal-Boston game took over the Twitterwaves on April 21.

People were talking about what they’re going to do for the planet’s day: bringing along a reusable mug, buying eco-jewellery, cleaning up the neighbourhood, even voting for the Earth in the election (advance polls open April 22 across Canada).   And that’s what Earth Day is really about: taking action to recognize and raise awareness about the value of the natural environment.

In Montreal, events of all kinds are planned.   On the island’s south shore the Salon Eco-Jeunes reaches out to parents with school-age kids to come out and participate in educational activities on the environment.   And downtown a workshop on local food aims to show people how to become ‘locavores’ with a trip to the grocery store and tips on how to grow food in the city.

A sunny day in the forecast will also bring out the thousands of eager users of the popular Bixi bike sharing service that opened for the season only a week before.   The service has spread its zero-emission active transport trend to cities around the world like London, Melbourne, Washington D.C. and Minneapolis.

Earlier this month, Quebec made another commitment to the environment with a pledge of $95 million over the next 10 years to develop the electric car industry in the province.   It makes sense for a major hydro-electric producer like Quebec to get into electrics and the government has also created financial incentives for residents to buy hybrids, electric vehicles and set up charging stations at home.

So, what’s the answer? With Earth Day upon us, do Canadians really care about the environment? Last Sunday, Canada’s only national call-in radio show, CBC’s Cross Country Checkup, aired from small-town Ontario.   Residents of Port Perry, guests and the local election candidates discussed the issues important to them while Canada listened, called in and emailed.

One email from a fellow in Halifax summed up the views expressed that day. “Listening to today’s show, and people clapping when a candidate talks about what they will do for the farmers, the environment, providing good drinking water,” wrote Lawrence McEachern, “I am saddened to let them know that unless the leader of the party supports farmers, the environment, providing good drinking water, then nothing will happen. Our system does not support grass roots issues.”

But even though the federal leaders haven’t been talking much about the health of the Earth, Canadians can be encouraged by a recent survey done by four major environmental advocacy groups.   Environmental Defence, Equiterre, CPAWS and the Pembina Institute asked the parties to set out their position on 10 environmental issues at play in Canada.   Aside from the non-respondent Conservatives, the Liberals, NDP, Bloc and the Greens made strong commitments to seriously address climate change, implement renewable energy solutions, get the tar sands under control and regulate toxic chemicals in consumer products.

Earth Day began as way to take action to raise awareness.   Even though federal leaders may not be talking about it much, the environment is important to Canadians.   And even without overwhelming fanfare this April 22, more than merely raising awareness, Earth Day can rightly be seen as a celebration that the environment is an issue that people care about and that’s here to stay.

I had the pleasure over the last three days to attend a leadership convention in Springfield, Massachusetts. The convention was geared more toward business owners than it was toward politicians, but anyone of the leaders running in the Canadian federal election could have taken a lesson from it.

What my colleagues and I learned at this conference was not just how to build our businesses, but how to lead others to success and greatness, in essence to lead people to realize their dreams. Obviously the Canadian party leaders aren’t trying to build a business, but they are trying to build a country with the same goal of leading people to greatness. That being said, the traits that make up the two types of leaders should be relatively the same.

Some traits are more evident than others, some of the more apparent ones are things such as being honest, having vision, competence, inspiration and intelligence. There is not one party leader that possesses all of these characteristics. It’s clear they all have a vision for Canada and its future (for better or worse), but I would only associate one or two of these other traits with each leader.

Jack Layton, Michael Ignatieff and Gilles Duceppe are all intelligent. That was proven during the debates last week by having them tear the conservatives’ policies to shreds. Sorry Mr. Harper, in my mind you don’t win a debate by simply “surviving”. I’ve yet to see a politician collapse onto the podium dead. Harper and the three opposition leaders did seem quite competent debating each other. The four of them seemed to know each other’s platforms, weaknesses and strengths. Preparation is a good test of competency.

Throughout the campaign up until Iggy started to tell people to “rise up!” I didn’t sense much inspiration in any of the party leaders. I believe that is reflected in the poll numbers that have showed very little movement for weeks. Inspiration breeds excitement and that is what attracts voters, the lack of excitement breeds apathy.

Some of the lesser known qualities of a good leader are from time to time just as important as any. Humility for example shows that the leader understands that their status does not make them a god and he will use his mistakes to elevate everyone else rather than blame another. Jack Layton is a great example of this. Other lesser known traits include dedication, fairness and openness, even a sense of humor can be vital. Stephen Harper has dedication, but has no sense of humor while Ignatieff seems to be open to new ideas, but in my view he lacks dedication.

Honest Abe & Winnie, two natural born leaders

You’ll notice I haven’t yet mentioned the most important trait of a good leader; trustworthiness. That is because it’s not clear to me that any of the party leaders are indeed trustworthy. Harper and his government clearly aren’t, his government was brought down on contempt charges after all. As for the other leaders, they haven’t been in office so it is impossible to judge their honesty, trust is something that is earned after all.

There is perceptibly much that goes into finding a good leader and it’s a shame that it isn’t something that is really taught in our schools. There have been very few born leaders throughout human history, the Lincolns, Ghandis and Churchills are hard to find, so if we can’t breed them, maybe we should teach them. Imagine Canada having a Prime Minister that is honest, competent, inspiring, and intelligent who has vision. What a country we could have.

(l-r) Tyrone Benskin and Marie-Claude Morin

Lineups outside of the Corona Theatre in St-Henri aren’t a unique sight. The classic movie house, reborn as a concert hall, has been hosting some of the larger local and touring musical acts playing the circuit these days. Energetic crowds inside the venue aren’t a new thing either. The main difference this Thursday afternoon was that the lineup and the energetic crowd weren’t there for a rock band, they were there for their political convictions, rallying to a familiar face that has recently felt a resurgence of support: Jack Layton.

After a warmup speech by host candidates Tyrone Benskin (the Corona is in the hotly contested Jeanne Le Ber riding) and Marie-Claude Morin (Saint-Hyacinthe-Bagot), who introduced the rest of the local NDP slate, Montreal Canadiens jersey-clad Outremont candidate Thomas Mulcair took the stage, kind of like an opening act. He got the crowd pumped and ready for the headliner: Jack.

This is a new Jack, though. Fresh off knocking down his opponents in the English-language debate and holding his own with Gilles Duceppe in the French one, the NDP leader doesn’t seem to be interested in moderate seat gains or holding either the balance of power, or leading the official opposition in yet another Conservative minority. This Jack wants to be Prime Minister.

“Ottawa is spinning on its wheel and it’s time for us to change it,” Layton told the excited crowd of supporters during his speech before explaining the best way to challenge Harper’s control of the country: “we have to do more than oppose the Conservatives, we have to replace him.”

He proceeded to tell the sea of people holding orange signs just what he would do if elected to the country’s top job. He’ll stop subsidizing big polluters, invest in clean energy, cap credit card fees, cut taxes for small business, and bring the troops home from Afghanistan.

All of these have been part of the NDP plan for years, and for years I’ve supported this party with my vote because of it. There was always something missing, though: energy and excitement. But not this time around.

Stephen Harper has never had the support of the majority of Canadians and after the G20 fiasco, losing a seat on the UN Security Council and a seeming disdain for the environment, he’s becoming something of an embarrassment on the world stage. And then there are his many scandals here at home. Michael Ignatieff showed up out of nowhere, became the Liberal leader without a convention and has proceeded to support Harper almost every step of the way, until it became politically convenient for him not to. Gilles Duceppe is a smart man and would probably make a good leader, but the Bloc can, at best, alter policy to benefit Quebec, not set it themselves.

Given these choices, it makes sense that voters may be looking for something different. Maybe they’re thinking about that guy who, for years, said he could do better but was never given the chance to. I think they’re saying, “this time, let’s give him a shot.”

That mood has electrified the base, NDP candidates, volunteers, the people in the Corona theatre and even Jack himself. Quebec is one of those places where the energy seems particularly high and Montreal even more so. One reason could be that most of Quebec and none of Montreal wanted Harper to begin with.

“We saw that in the last election,” Layton explained, “the vast majority of Quebecers did oppose Stephen Harper. And the results? Today we’re still in Afghanistan. Quebec language and culture still aren’t adequately protected. And we’re still shoveling billions to Stephen Harper’s big polluter friends.”

Now with dwindling Bloc support in the province, especially in Montreal, and the Liberals doing considerably worse (or not getting any better) it looks like Quebec voters are starting to agree with Layton that their previous method of fighting Harper isn’t an effective approach. If people keep thinking that way until May 2nd, it could mean some serious seat gains for the NDP and a fundamental shift in the political landscape in this province and city.

If last Thursday’s rally wasn’t a strong enough indication of the changing political tides, then Jack sticking around to catch the Habs’ game and taking a stroll through Jean Talon market with Rosemont-Petite Patrie (referred to as “deep behind enemy lines“) candidate Alexandre Boulerice the next day is a good indication of how the party feels things are going in Quebec. But there’s more to come.

New poll numbers show the NDP tied with the Liberals nationally and Jack Layton will be holding another rally in Montreal this coming Saturday at Theatre Olympia. Another rock venue for another rock and roll campaign stop. If you missed the last one, you should check this one out.

* photos by Chris Zacchia

This Thursday Jack Layton will arrive in Montreal for a huge rally in the riding of Jeanne-Le-Ber, one of many seats that the NDP suddenly find itself competitive in as Layton fever sweeps the province. The rally, taking place at 5PM at the Corona Theatre (2490, Notre-Dame O) is a homecoming of sorts for Quebec’s newest favourite son.

Considering that the NDP was at lower than 2% in the 2000 election, it’s almost inconceivable that the party now finds itself in second place to the Bloc Quebecois. The latest Angus Reid poll put them at 24%, and they have been at or over 20% in almost all polls released since the beginning of the campaign. In fact, as polls taken on different days and by different companies bounce around like some sort of electoral yo-yo, the consistency of NDP support in Quebec is startling.

So what accounts for this stratospheric increase in NDP support in this province, and is it a permanent marriage, or merely a temporary fling for my fellow Quebecois?

All indications are that this is no one-nighter and that the NDP is here to stay as a force on the federal level. In every election since Jack Layton assumed the leadership of the NDP in 2003, the party has posted significant gains. From 4.6% in 2004 to 7.5% in 2006 to 12.5% in 2008. This last result was undoubtedly aided by Thomas Mulcair’s by-election victory in Outremont in 2007, a feat the party’s deputy leader repeated in the 2008 general election, proving once and for all that the NDP was capable of winning in Quebec.

The truth is Quebecers are increasingly falling head over heels into Jackmania, and the only cure is more votes and more seats.

Our long lost native son has succeeded in reshaping the image of a party long seen as too centralizing for Quebecers, and Layton seems to have truly gained the trust of this province with his relentless championing of social issues important to us.

While the Bloc and NDP share many platform points when it comes to fighting for the rights of regular people, rather than the major corporations whose interests the Liberals and Conservatives seem to represent, Quebecers are losing faith in the Bloc’s ability to achieve its goals.

Tyrone Benskin: candidate for Jeanne-Le-Ber where the rally will take place

Of hundreds of bills proposed by the Bloc since their inception, they’ve managed to pass three, two of which were to change the names of ridings. There is also a lingering distrust of the Bloc’s commitment to their platform since they voted against $4.6 billion of new funding for social housing, education, healthcare and other social programs. Rather than supporting this new funding, negotiated by the NDP to save Paul Martin’s government, and which they had promised to fight for in their platform, the Bloc chose to oppose it in order to gain a few new seats.

As Tom Mulcair is fond of saying, the Bloc is very good at playing defence, but you can’t win a hockey game with five defencemen.

So as the Bloc slides, a process sure to accelerate after the looming departure of Gilles Duceppe for the provincial arena, the NDP is the party best positioned to take up the progressive flag of Quebecers concerned more with social programs and a just society than doling out favours like corporate tax cuts to the giant corporations that bankroll the Libs and Cons.

Considering that 45% of Bloc supporters identify their second choice as the NDP, it isn’t hard to see why disillusionment with the Bloc is resulting in a surge in NDP support.

What is harder to measure is how this new-found support, which is quite evenly distributed across the province, will translate into seats in our out-moded first past the post system.

While La Presse’s riding poll of Outremont shows a 20% lead for Mulcair over his Liberal rival (and former justice minister) Martin Cauchon, increasing numbers of other ridings appear to be in play. Gatineau and Hull-Aylmer   seem likely to fall to the NDP while even the northernmost riding in Quebec, Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou could see an upset by star NDP candidate Romeo Saganash, a leader in the Cree community there.

Meanwhile, if NDP gains continue many Montreal ridings could fall to the orange wave sweeping the province.

Full disclosure, I am currently a member of NDP central campaign staff in Quebec for this election. As such, it’s sometimes hard not to pinch myself when I wake up in the morning. But this is no dream.

Quebecers are flocking to a party that is first and foremost honest about its intent and is also clear on who it represents. The NDP is and always has been a party that seeks to get the best deal possible for the oppressed and marginalized in our society.

The party that brought us medicare has been no less clear on where it stands in this election. Promising to radically overhaul funding for post-secondary education and freeze and reduce tuition, legislate net neutrality, hire more doctors and nurses and strengthen pensions. They’re promising to cut taxes on small businesses and reward job creators while raising the Corporate taxes that Harper has unconscionably lowered. They’ll also cap credit card rates at 5% + Prime, take federal tax off home heating oil and give us control over our cell phone bills. Social Housing that we desperately need will be a priority, as always, for the NDP.

Ultimately, the determining factor in how many of those Quebecers who now find themselves supporting the NDP actually make it to the ballot box to vote will depend entirely on how successful we are in mobilizing them. The NDP’s key disadvantage is that the Liberals and Bloc have well oiled electoral machines in Quebec, which are capable of keeping their voters in the fold and driving them to the polls.

If we can field an ever-growing team of volunteers in this election, then we have a real shot at many ridings here in Montreal.

So this election, please don’t just vote NDP, volunteer for the NDP. Because this is history in the making, and you don’t want to miss it.

To volunteer for the NDP please phone Ethan directly at 514-662-0070. The Jack Layton rally will be held at the Corona Theatre (2490 Notre Dame W.) at 5PM this Thursday, April 14.

Images: ctv.ca and ndp.ca