NDP sweetens the pot in Quebec
NDP leader Jack Layton plays the spoons while listening to Quebec folk music with Gatineau NDP candidate Francoise Boivin at a campaign stop in Gatineau, Que., on April 3, 2011. REUTERS/Patrick Doyle
GATINEAU, Que. - Jack Layton tried to sweeten the NDP vote at a sugar shack in the Outaouais Sunday, where he ironically highlighted the need for better health care in the region.
“You’ve got overcrowded hospitals, doctor shortages, and late-night trips to other cities for basic services,” the New Democrat leader told supporters who packed into La Cabane in Gatineau, Que.
The NDP is targeting the Western Quebec region with candidates Francoise Boivin in Gatineau, and Nycole Turmel in Hull-Aylmer.
During a Sunday scrum, Turmel was asked about her links to a left-leaning separatist party. In the 2007 provincial election, she publicly threw her support behind local candidate running for the Quebec Solidaire.
“I’m federalist, not a separatist,” Turmel said.
The NDP says suggestions Turmel is a separatist are way off base, and it claims she has been a member of the New Democrats for two decades.
In 2008, Bloc candidate Richard Nadeau grabbed the seat for Gatineau, and Liberal Marcel Proulx claimed victory in Hull-Aylmer. The NDP has made this area a specific target in the current campaign and it is hoping for a big breakthrough in Quebec. Support is growing in the province under Layton’s leadership. In the last election, Thomas Mulcair claimed the first NDP seat in Quebec.