The NDP has announced its new candidate for the Montreal riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie as it looks to beef up support and visibility in Quebec.

Nima Machouf is an epidemiologist who works in public health. She has also spent time campaigning alongside her husband, former Quebec solidaire MNA Amir Khadir.

Machouf received a warm endorsement at her announcement Wednesday from the current MP in the riding Helene Laverdiere, who has decided to step away from politics.

Machouf said she has what it takes to step in.

“I have been involved for equality, for the individual, against discrimination, for human rights, for the environment, and now I'm very happy to be able to join the NDP team,” she said.

She’ll have her work cut out for her: recent polls indicate the federal party is struggling.

“We just had a by-election in Outremont and people were saying, ‘You're dead, you're nowhere,’ and we had a strong second place with 27 per cent of the vote. That shows we represent a real movement, we have roots here in Quebec, but we can grow,” said Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie MP Alexandre Boulerice.

On Monday, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh named Boulerice as the party's new deputy leader, saying the province has ‘particular nuance when it comes to identity and culture.’

That 'nuance' could cause some confusion, however – in Machouf’s case, she has long campaigned in support of her husband Khadir and his sovereignist party, Quebec solidaire – and is now aiming to join the world of federal politics.

When asked if she defined herself as a sovereignist, Machouf said “not that much, but more progressive.”

She said her emphasis will be social justice, not sovereignty.

“There are many progressive forces that are also separatists or ‘independentistes,’ so you cannot separate them,” she said.