The social democratic New Democratic Party has played an important role in Canadian politics, forming provincial governments and often shaping the national debate. NDP leader Tommy Douglas has been named the greatest Canadian in a nationally televised contest organized by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2004. Canada's national health system is largely due to the influence of the NDP and its predecessor, the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation.
But prior to this year neither the NDP nor the CCF have ever been a serious contender for national power.
With a national Canadian election coming up soon (May 2), it looks like the NDP may make a breakthrough.
Kathleen Harris reports in the National Post
The NDP has steamrollered over the Liberal party to land in second place nationally behind the front-running Conservatives, results of a new poll suggest.
The EKOS-iPolitics.ca survey of more than 3,000 Canadians finds 28% of decided voters now support the NDP, compared with 23.7% who plan to vote Liberal. The Conservatives hold less than a six-point lead, sitting with 33.7% support, with just one week to go before election day.
Pollster Frank Graves calls it an unprecedented turn and “astonishing shift” for the NDP, which has traditionally trailed the two other main federal parties. Leader Jack Layton’s popularity is climbing most dramatically in Quebec, but building momentum in all regions of the country, according to the poll’s results.
“We have seen almost from Day 1, a slow, steady and now a dramatic rise where the NDP has gone from 14 points in a pre-writ poll to 28 points,” Graves said. “That is a doubling — I’ve never seen anything close to that.”
Results of the poll — the first of the campaign to show the NDP running in second place — show the Green party with 7.2% support, the Bloc Quebecois at 6.2% and other parties with 1.2%.
While numbers could still change significantly in the final week of the campaign, Graves said current figures suggest the NDP could take a “breathtaking” 100 seats. With that count, the once-unthinkable scenario of a Layton-led coalition with the Liberals begins to emerge, he said.