NDP: Saxophones and seats

Layton just arrived, serenaded by a sax player (like I said, the NDP knows how to party) as he made his way through a pack of photographers. “We’re feeling good so far,” he said, to no one in particular.

Before things really get started, here are a few things NDP fans will want to watch. The party wants to pick up two or three seats in Quebec, where they spent a lot of time and money campaigning. Keep an eye on the riding of Gatineau (and candidate Françoise Boivin), which Layton visited three times in recent weeks. They expect to hold on to the riding of Outremont, which Thomas Mulcair won in a by-election last year. A loss there would be crushing. A victory would be historic (the first NDP seat in Quebec in a general election).

They’re hoping for two other big firsts, says spokesman Brad Lavigne. The first NDP seat in a general election in Newfoundland and Labrador (in St John’s East) and their first federal seat in Alberta in 20 years (in Edmonton Strathcona).

They hope to make big gains in Northern Ontario too. But what they really need are victories in British Columbia (like they had under Broadbent). That will be a challenge.

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