'Defiance and fun'

Andre Pratte explains the NDP’s rise in Quebec.

Then there were Mr. Layton and the NDP. The party’s lone MP in the province, Thomas Mulcair, had done a lot of work to adjust the party’s policies to Quebec’s sensitivities. Mr. Layton’s personality did the rest … The fact that the NDP Leader decided to go through an electoral campaign while recuperating from cancer and a broken hip brought him a lot of sympathy. His strong performances at the televised debate in French and during a popular talk show on Radio-Canada showed him as someone committed to social justice, close to ordinary people and equipped with a good sense of humour.

Suddenly, Quebeckers began referring to the NDP Leader as “Jack.” In Quebec, people calling a politician by his first name means that he has struck an emotional chord. These days, Quebeckers don’t say they’ll vote for the NDP or for candidate so and so. With an air of defiance and fun, they announce they’ll vote for “Jack.”

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