One year later, taking stock of NDP in Quebec
New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, April 26, 2012. 9Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Thursday, May 3, 2012 10:46AM EDT
MONTREAL - It was one year ago Wednesday that the NDP rode the orange wave through Quebec into official opposition status in the House of Commons.
Many say the big win was mostly thanks to Jack Layton, leaving the party rudderless after his death until they chose their new leader, Thomas Mulcair.
"Unfortunately, I think it was a party quite driven by their leader, and every party is to a certain degree," said Montrealer Jordanna Bermac.
La Presse columnist Patrick Lagace said Mulcair has big shoes to fill.
"Thomas Mulcair is no Jack Layton. I don't think he could pretend to have Layton's tender side even if he tried. He's a tougher individual and politician than Layton was, but still, Quebecers like the fact he left the government of Jean Charest over a question of principle," he said.
Even though the NDP's new leader is from Quebec, does it make a difference in Ottawa? McGill University political science professor Antonia Maioni.
"The fact of having the NDP as official opposition has not really made Quebecers have their voice heard in parliament in a way most of them would have liked to," she said.
Maoini said the Conservative government isn't interested in putting Quebec first.
NDP leader Thomas Mulcair marked the anniversary by promising to force the conservatives out of power in the next federal election, come 2015.
But some Montrealers don't think that's a smart move.
"I think the important thing is not to have these great expectations that in three years time he'll form a government. In eight years or seven years time, who knows, but you have to put the building blocks in place," said Montrealer Derek Foote.
NDG resident Alain Gagnon agreed, saying it's tough to make NDP MPs familiar in Quebec.
"I've never seen anybody come to my door or ring, or anything actually," he said. "Politics are politics I guess. We'll see them around election time."
And that would be on October 19, 2015.