Thomas Mulcair was waiting for our interview on his daycare proposal Tuesday when the confirmation arrived. He would be the feature guest on CTV’s The Social the next day.

The NDP leader was a little perplexed, having never seen the talk show cohosted by four opinionated women. But his aide was ecstatic. He knew the demographic this show reached. Young mothers. Daycare seekers. The electoral jackpot.

There are always risks in these appearances. Bomb in front of a live audience and there’s no do-over. But outperform expectations before a non-political crowd and the payoff can stick.

So Mulcair gamely appeared, relaxed and without a tie. And as soon as his $15 a day child care proposal was explained, the hosts and live audience gave him a vigorous round of applause.

It was music to his ears.

The NDP daycare plan will be the party’s signature policy for a vote that’s scheduled for a year from this Sunday. And it could be difficult for his rivals to trash.

Mulcair outfoxed the Conservatives by declaring that their existing child care credit would continue to appease parents who stay at home or have their child cared for by relatives or friends. The Liberals, who proposed a similar idea ten years ago, could only gulp at the NDP theft of their old plan.

Affordability is a concern. It will eventually cost $5 billion on top of the Conservative credit to implement. And the provinces, who must cough up 40 cents of every daycare dollar, may well refuse to play along.

But with major surpluses in the forecast, every party has the luxury of picking priorities to wow the voters.

And caring for kids is a daunting challenge for working parents in this country. Some estimates say only one in five children find the space their parents are seeking.

So chalk up an early policy win and political bonus for the NDP.

As the Conservatives prepare to roll out tax cuts and credits which will disproportionately favour higher income earners, at least the NDP is aiming surplus dollars at a problem which is most dire for the less fortunate.

It’s a risk, but not nearly as risky as appearing with four unpredictable hosts who might’ve demanded a dance, like they did with an awkward Justin Trudeau, instead of a debate about daycare.