If Brian Topp wins the NDP leadership, one of the NDP's 58 Quebec MPs would be asked to resign so Topp could run in a byelection and get into the House of Commons "very quickly," the leadership candidate said.
In an interview Thursday with Evan Solomon, host of Power & Politics, Topp said asking someone to step down to create a vacancy is a "delicate matter" but that he would do it.
"I'm not going to name names and point at ridings, but I'm hoping to create an opportunity to get into the House as quickly as possible, yes," the Quebec native said.
"Obviously in these circumstances you need to ask a colleague to give you a chance to run in a seat and that's what I'll do if I'm elected leader," Topp said.
He also said in the interview that his fellow candidate from Quebec, Thomas Mulcair, wants to move the NDP to the centre of the political spectrum and that that's the "wrong road."
"What that tells me is that Tom should be in our party a little longer before he wants to lead us," Topp said.
On another competitor, Paul Dewar, Topp said he is a hardworking MP, but he's not a bilingual one. Topp said it would be hard to imagine having a leader of a federal party that is not bilingual.
Dewar gets backing from Quebec MPs
Dewar announced two new endorsements from the NDP caucus on Friday, both from Quebec MPs. Hélène Laverdière and Hoang Mai are backing the Ottawa MP in his leadership bid.
They are the first two Quebec MPs to support Dewar. His other MP endorsements are from Ontario MPs Charlie Angus, Irene Mathyssen, and Claude Gravelle and Alberta MP Linda Duncan.
Quebec elected 59 NDP MPs in May (one has since crossed the floor to the Liberals) and helped propel the party to Official Opposition.
"Paul's French is improving quickly. I also know that he shares the values of Quebecers and that he is ready to defend their interests. I am convinced that the more Quebecers get to know him, the more they will appreciate him, as I’ve come to do by working with him," Laverdière said in a statement.
In an interview with Power & Politics on Friday, Dewar reacted to Topp's comments about his French.
He told host Rosemary Barton that his new endorsements show how he is connecting with people in Quebec and across Canada.
"I guess we have a different opinion of things, in terms of how I'm seen. I understand, Brian's an opponent and he's framing things the way that would benefit his campaign," Dewar said.
The candidate to replace the late Jack Layton will be elected at a convention in Toronto on March 24. The deadline for membership sales is Saturday night in order for new members to be eligible to vote for the leader.
There are eight candidates in the running: Niki Ashton, Nathan Cullen, Dewar, Thomas Mulcair, Peggy Nash, Martin Singh and Brian Topp.
It is not a delegated convention, which means the leader will be elected with a one vote per member system, so the candidates have been working hard to sell memberships and sign up new people who will vote for them.