Mulcair endorsed by former governor general Ed Schreyer

NDP leadership hopeful Thomas Mulcair has snagged a high-profile endorsement from former Manitoba premier and governor general Ed Schreyer.
NDP leadership hopeful Thomas Mulcair (right) stands with former Manitoba premier and governor general Ed Schreyer in Winnipeg on Wednesday. (CBC)

NDP leadership hopeful Thomas Mulcair has snagged a high-profile endorsement from former Manitoba premier and governor general Ed Schreyer.

The endorsement is important for the Montreal MP, who is well-known in Quebec but needs to expand his reach outside his home province.

Schreyer says he believes Mulcair can do in the Prairies — the party's onetime heartland but now a virtual wasteland — what he helped do in Quebec in last May's election.

The party swept 59 of Quebec's 75 seats but captured only two seats in Manitoba, one in Alberta and none in Saskatchewan, the party's birthplace.

Up till now, Mulcair has won endorsements from 29 Quebec MPs but only a handful from outside the province.

He has lagged in capturing the support of high-profile backers compared to some of his rival leadership hopefuls — particularly Brian Topp, who has been endorsed by former party leader Ed Broadbent and former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow, among others.

"Thomas Mulcair has a strong track record of winning elections for the NDP and fighting for the public interest," Schreyer said in a written statement.

"With Thomas Mulcair at our helm, we will reproduce the NDP's breakthrough right here in the Prairies."

Schreyer served as premier of Manitoba from 1969-77 and subsequently as governor general from 1978-84.

He attempted a political comeback in the 2006 federal election but was handily defeated by Conservative MP James Bezan.