Mulcair will stay on as the party’s Quebec lieutenant and is already busy fundraising, organizing and recruiting candidates in a province that has traditionally been a wasteland for New Democrats.
But he said Monday’s result has already made an impression on his possible recruits. One name being bandied about as a possible candidate is Julius Grey, a high-profile human rights lawyer from Montreal.
"The victory will make it easier for us to recruit high-profile candidates," Mulcair said.
"We’ve been speaking with people all along. But let me just say the body language is becoming far more positive (after Monday)."
The New Democrats will now turn their attention to specific pockets of the province where they believe they have the best chance of making additional gains. A main target will be ridings similar to Outremont: multi-ethnic, federalist and urban.
Mulcair said that parts of Montreal are prized targets, as are some resource-producing regions in outlying areas.
The latest poll shows the NDP tied with the Liberals in Quebec, and although it has a high margin of error, the uptick for the NDP is confirmed in other findings, by-election aside. I admit to never hearing of Julius Grey, but the fact that Muclair is bold enough to drop names suggests the prospect of another "star" candidate is real. The by-election is clearly significant, in that the NDP is now armed with the practical, as opposed to pie in the sky aspirations. Half the battle for the NDP in Quebec is the appearance of viability, a dose of real potential. Muclair's convincing victory at least presents the idea of possibilities, which makes the prospect of more formidable candidates believable.
The thing that impressed me most about the NDP in this by-election- the complete dedication and sharp focus. That example is a great asset moving forward, particularly in a dynamic where Quebecers appear to be shopping around. Layton and Muclair both enjoy favorable opinion, relative to other leaders, which also lends to the idea of a hearing out. I don't want to overstate the possibilities, but if the NDP is shrewd, puts all their resources in a few target ridings, with high-profile people, then it would be foolish to dismiss their chances. Couple that with a natural policy affinity, and you might just be on to something.
Quebecers aren't sold on Harper, the Liberal problems are obvious and the Bloc looks to be in decline. I guess the question, is there a vacuum there that the NDP can capitalize on? From what I saw in the by-election, if the NDP fails, it won't be for lack of effort. It would seem there is an aggressive plan in place that hopes to capitalize on the new-found sense that something is building. Should be interesting to watch moving forward, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see more surprises, if you know what I mean.