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May 2, 2011. Jack Layton led the federal New Democrats beyond the limitations of their history, and within sight of the promised land of government. Just over one hundred days later, his death opened the New Democrats to a leadership contest at a point when the party is stronger and more vulnerable than at any time in history. The choice it makes in March 2012, at its leadership convention in Toronto, will be a good sign of whether the party is ready to challenge the Conservatives for government or will sink back into obscurity.

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