Montreal MP Alexandre Boulerice is the NDP's new deputy leader and will be tasked with raising the party's profile in Quebec ahead of next fall's federal election, party leader Jagmeet Singh announced Monday.
The former union adviser will be in charge of recruiting candidates in the province and helping the party "reconnect" with Quebecers, Singh told reporters at the announcement in east-end Montreal. Polls place the NDP in fourth place in the province, and high-profile Quebec MPs including Tom Mulcair, Helene Laverdiere and Romeo Saganash will not be running for re-election in October.
"We are not exactly where we want to be in Quebec at this time," Boulerice told reporters. With 15 seats in Quebec, the party is far from its high point in the 2011 election when it won the majority of the province's ridings and became the Official Opposition.
Singh said his nomination of Boulerice -- known for his confrontational political style and strong oratory skills in the House of Commons -- shows his desire to "do things differently in Quebec." He told reporters to stay tuned for a series of Quebec-specific announcements in the coming months.
Singh said NDP policies to provide low-cost housing, to increase taxes on the rich and to respect Quebec cultural products make him "an ally" of Quebecers. But he and Boulerice also revealed that the environment will be a major issue the party will use to differentiate itself from the Liberals, who are leading in the polls in Quebec.
"The best route to take for the NDP in Quebec is to reconnect with all the progressives, with Quebecers, for a clear alternative to the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau," Boulerice said. "And that means taking a bold turn, taking a courageous turn, a visionary turn, that focuses above all on the collective interest."
Boulerice criticized the Trudeau government decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline and what he called inadequate action to combat greenhouse gas emissions. "We will present a plan on the environment that will clearly show the time of half measures is over," he said.
Singh said the party's next announcement for Quebec will be on Wednesday, when he plans to announce the NDP's candidate in the Montreal riding of Laurier--Sainte-Marie, currently held by Laverdiere.