Politics

Boulerice named NDP deputy leader as party tries to woo Quebec voters

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is making veteran MP Alexandre Boulerice the party's new deputy leader in a bid to cosy up to Quebec voters ahead of the October election.

NDP struggling to stay relevant in Quebec

NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice is the party's new deputy leader. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is making veteran MP Alexandre Boulerice the party's new deputy leader in a bid to cosy up to Quebec voters ahead of the October election.

In a statement, the party said Boulerice is the best person to support the party's "ongoing efforts to reconnect with progressives in Quebec."

The MP for Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie will be responsible for recruiting the NDP's team of candidates and leading a Quebec-specific campaign.

He'll have his work cut out for him. So far, 10 incumbent NDP MPs — four of them from Quebec — have said they won't run again.

"I firmly believe that Quebec is a distinct nation within our country and I promise you today that I will be an ally for Quebec, that I will do things differently," said Singh in a statement.

The news comes as the NDP rolls out its plan to attract voters in Quebec. The party said it will unveil a series of Quebec-specific announcements leading up to Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in June.

"I think it's a recognition that he has an uphill climb ahead of him in Quebec," Farouk Karim, a former NDP strategist, told Radio-Canada.

"I find it very positive. Mr. Boulerice is Quebec's best-known MP."

The third-place party has been struggling to stay relevant in the province.

After securing 58 of the province's 75 seats in the 2011 federal election, it dropped down to 16 Quebec seats in the 2015 election.

And things aren't looking up. Three surveys conducted over the last few weeks suggest that the NDP is still in trouble in Quebec.

The party also suffered a symbolic defeat in the Outremont byelection, losing the riding held by former leader Tom Mulcair.

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