The federal New Democratic Party is stepping up promotion in a Thunder Bay riding it once held.

Almost two years before the next election, the party has sent a questionnaire to voters in Thunder Bay-Superior North.

The mail-out is from Christine Moore, the NDP member for the Quebec riding of Abitibi-Temiscamingue, a riding that also includes Rouyn-Noranda.

The letter denounces the Harper government and asks voters about the issues that concern them.

Bruce Hyer, the former NDP member who now sits as an independent for Thunder Bay-Superior North, said he's not bothered.

“It is fairly common for all parties to send out questionnaires,” he said.

“I’ve done it, and when people send back their comments, I used it mostly because I wanted to know what my constituents are thinking.”

Hyer said surveys can also be used to identify potential donors and volunteers for an election.

Potential donors?

A political science professor at Lakehead University said she feels the mail-out is mostly about promoting the NDP.

“Political parties routinely do surveys that are very scientifically designed and very carefully neutral to get information on how people are going to vote or the popularity of their party or however you want to phrase it,” Laure Paquette said.

“That's not the case here. It strikes me that they may be building a database of potential donors or volunteers for the upcoming election. It wouldn't be a surprise that they would be doing it at this point.”

Hyer said there may be a bit of an extra focus by the NDP on his riding to get a New Democrat candidate re-elected there.

"Usually it's the MP in the area, if it's an incumbent, [who] would do it,” he said.

“The NDP wouldn't be asking me to do that right now … the other thing that may be happening here is there may be a special emphasis on Thunder Bay-Superior North."

A spokesperson for the NDP said the party is not doing a similar mail out in the riding of Thunder Bay-Rainy River.