Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NDP Leader Singh Hopes New Deputy Will Help Party 'Reconnect' with Quebec

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

NDP Leader Singh Hopes New Deputy Will Help Party 'Reconnect' with Quebec

Article excerpt

Singh names Montreal MP Boulerice as deputy leader

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MONTREAL - NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was barely a minute into his speech Monday announcing a deputy leader from Quebec when he invoked the memory of Jack Layton, who famously led the party to its 2011 sweep of the province that propelled the party to Official Opposition status.

"I share the dream of Jack Layton to unite the progressives of Quebec and the rest of Canada under the same banner," Singh said

Since Layton's death just months after the 2011 election, the party's fortunes in the province have tumbled. The NDP is polling fourth in Quebec, Singh has so far failed to connect with voters, and high-profile Quebec MPs including former leader Tom Mulcair, Helene Laverdiere and Romeo Saganash will not be seeking re-election in October.

In response, Singh is relying on Montreal MP Alexandre Boulerice -- who was first elected to Parliament during Layton's 2011 Quebec orange wave -- to help the party recapture the imagination of Quebecers as it targets the province's 78 federal seats.

As the new deputy leader, Boulerice -- a francophone and former union adviser -- will be in charge of recruiting candidates and making the case for the party in Quebec.

Boulerice is known for his combative political style and strong oratory skills in the House of Commons. Singh said his decision to name Boulerice deputy leader shows his desire to "do things differently in Quebec." He told reporters to stay tuned for a series of Quebec-specific announcements in the coming months.

Singh said NDP policies to provide low-cost housing, to increase taxes on the rich and to respect Quebec cultural products make him "an ally" of Quebecers. But he and Boulerice also revealed that the environment will be a major issue the party will use to differentiate itself from the Liberals, who are leading in the polls in Quebec. …

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