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Three now seeking NDP leadership

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GATINEAU, Que.—Quebec MP Guy Caron has joined the race to lead the NDP—bringing to three the number of candidates so far in the race to succeed Tom Mulcair.

Caron, an economist who is positioning himself as a contender with financial smarts, made the announcement today at a log cabin in Gatineau, Que.

He chose the location because it was the scene of a campaign event by late NDP leader Jack Layton in 2011, the same year Caron first was elected to the House of Commons as part of the so-called “Orange Wave” in Quebec.

Caron also unveiled the first plank of his plan by proposing to establish a basic income for all Canadians.

He plans to spend the week making stops in Ottawa, Montreal, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec City, and his hometown of Rimouski, Que.

It's critical to the electoral fortunes of the NDP to rebuild support in Quebec, where the party currently holds just 16 seats, Caron stressed.

Toronto and Atlantic Canada also will be key areas for growth, he added.

The race to replace Mulcair, which got off to the slowest of starts, has been gaining steam in recent weeks, with Northern Ontario MP Charlie Angus and B.C. MP Peter Julian also in the running.

Tossing his hat into the ring yesterday, Angus told The Canadian Press the leadership race will be about renewing the NDP—a party that is struggling to rebuild after being reduced to third-party status in a devastating election loss in 2015.

“If there is one thing I am going to commit to during this process, it's to try and build that relationship of getting out, of meeting people, of getting people to re-engage,” he pledged.

Angus, first elected in 2004, said his politics always have been rooted at the community level, and that he tries to speak truth to power in a clear way.

“That's how you excite people that's how you sign up members,” he reasoned.

“That's how you get people to donate.”

A leadership debate is scheduled for March 12 in Ottawa.

Manitoba MP Niki Ashton and deputy Ontario NDP leader Jagmeet Singh also are said to be considering a bid.

A new leader is scheduled to be chosen by the end of October.

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