David Miller’s name is being floated for the NDP’s top spot, but can anyone from Toronto win (again)?

David Miller’s name is being floated for the NDP’s top spot, but can anyone from Toronto win (again)?

(Image: Shaun Merritt) 

With Jack Layton’s moving funeral now behind us, the new week has NDP candidates quietly leaking their intentions to run to the press. As expected, Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair are widely being touted as front-runners, but some other names have started to crop up. Peggy Nash, MP for Parkdale–High Park, is being mentioned, as is Olivia Chow (Trinity-Spadina), who would obviously represent a continuation of the Layton legacy. A bit more off the beaten path is the suggestion—raised by Councillor Josh Matlow on his radio show yesterday and by others elsewhere—that ex-mayor David Miller could run for the NDP’s big chair. Off the top of our heads, we can see a few problems with this idea.

• He just got out of politics and seems to be sincere in his desire to spend time with his family.

• His French is apparently uneven at best, a non-trivial knock for someone hoping to lead a party with a large new Quebec caucus.

• The NDP probably can’t get away with having two Toronto-based leaders in a row.

• His political baggage is still fresh enough that the attack ads basically write themselves.

There’s a reasonable case that Chow could run and win, despite being from Toronto. Aside from her, it’s hard to see a representative from this city gracing the leader’s chair anytime soon, even though it did work out well for them last time. Assuming Chow stays out, this race is likely to be a lot more interesting than we initially thought it would be. The 2006 Liberal race was supposed to be Michael Ignatieff’s to lose, and we saw how that turned out. Other recent elections have been unkind to the supposed–to–be–front-runners as well (paging George Smitherman), so for now, the field is wide open.

Time for New Democrats to ‘roll up sleeves,’ move forward with Layton’s vision [Winnipeg Free Press]
NDP leadership race effectively starts now [Globe and Mail]
Analysis: Will Olivia run for the top NDP job? [Toronto Star]