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The selection of Thomas Mulcair as Leader of the NDP, and thus Opposition Leader, was not unexpected – yet in a number of ways proved to be quite original. Rather than selecting a charter member of the NDP family, the party reached out to a recent convert. And of course, for the first time, it chose a Quebecer. These two choices are not unrelated, we need remind ourselves, since there is no such animal as an experienced, publicly known Quebec politician who has limited his or her involvement to the NDP. The closest to fit the description is Mulcair’s main opponent, Brian Topp, who like Mulcair grew up bilingual in Montreal. But Topp’s NDP involvement was behind the scenes and largely outside Quebec.

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