1 min

Wannabe top dogs

Here are the candidates vying in Toronto this weekend for Canada’s top lefty job.

• Jack Layton. A Toronto city councillor whose bid is supported by party heavies Audrey McLaughlin, Ed Broadbent, Alexa McDonough, Svend Robinson and Libby Davies. His style is, “kind of like grassroots activism and democracy. I think he is just what the NDP needs,” says Davies.

• Bill Blaikie. A Winnipeg MP, United Church minister with a social gospel slant and Layton’s toughest competitor. His supporters include Manitoba premier Gary Doer and Ontario NDP leader Howard Hampton. Blaikie enjoys the support of much of the NDP caucus.

• Lorne Nystrom. An MP from Regina and an outside contender for the leadership. “I am the only leadership candidate to provide a fiscal framework and a comprehensive package of initiatives during the campaign,” he wrote in a column that appeared in the Toronto Star. This is Nystrom’s third attempt for the leadership.

• Joe Comartin. An MP from Windsor. An idealistic underdog who has the support of Canadian Auto Workers president Buzz Hargrove. “I think Joe Comartin is the only one who has declared himself as a democratic socialist and that we have to present ourselves as an alternative to the Liberals, instead of this kind of mush middle like the other candidates,” Hargrove told the Toronto Star.

• Pierre Ducasse. A Quebec NDP organizer and at 29, the youngest candidate. His wordy five-part candidacy thesis stresses pragmatism and economics.

• Bev Meslo. a Vancouver-based NDP socialist caucus candidate. “We believe that if the party is to survive, it must turn sharply left,” she wrote in an open statement to the press.