That was quick: NDP leadership speculation begins as Brian Topp said to be giving it “serious consideration”

That was quick: NDP leadership speculation begins as Brian Topp said to be giving it “serious consideration”

Thomas Mulcair and Brian Topp are unofficial frontrunners to replace Jack Layton as leader of the NDP

As Jack Layton’s casket made its way yesterday to Ottawa—where the former leader will lie in state before coming home to Toronto tonight to lie in state at city hall before his Saturday funeral—the new political reality is coming to the surface about as quickly as manners will allow. The NDP needs a new leader and—shocker—there’s already some jockeying going on.

From the National Post:

The Canadian Press reported Tuesday afternoon that NDP president Brian Topp is already a front-runner in the non-race.

He is “receiving a lot of encouragement to run” and is “giving serious consideration” to putting himself forward, unnamed and unquoted NDP “insiders” told CP. Mr. Topp himself is refusing comment, but it’s a safe bet that the insiders wouldn’t have dropped his name to a reporter without his blessing.

Various reporters on the Hill subsequently said Thomas Mulcair, the Quebec MP and one of Mr. Layton’s deputies, was also considering a bid.

Given Mulcair’s history with the NDP—he was courted by Layton in the opening rounds of the party’s long Quebec courtship and made deputy leader to seal the deal—it would be surprising if he wasn’t at least considering a run. Topp is a bit more of a surprise, not least because he’s never held public office (he’s been a campaign manager and prominent NDP booster in the Globe and Mail’s blogs, among others). Still, it seems people aren’t willing to roll out the red carpet for an unopposed Mulcair just yet.

Of course, if Canadian politics has taught us anything over the last few years it’s that predictions made anything more than 24 hours before an election are worthless—and even then they’re dangerous. So we’re not ready to rule our some dark horse candidate who’ll come from behind and surprise everyone.

Scott Stinson: Jockeying begins in race to replace Layton [National Post]

(Images: Mulcair, Matt Jiggins; Topp, Ian Capstick)