It may be early in the federal NDP leadership race, but MLA for Nelson-Creston Michelle Mungall declared her support last week for federal NDP president Brian Topp.
“In the time that I’ve had to get to know him, I’ve been inspired by his positive approach to politics, his creative way of doing things and his ability to really engage people,” said Mungall.
She said that she got to know Topp over the summer while he was working with the provincial NDP, who were preparing for the possibility of a fall election.
“To sit in a room of people and watch him and see how people found him so magnetic and were just captured by what he was saying, it was clear to me that he brings the skills that we need to become the government of Canada,” said Mungall.
Topp’s experience as a strategist for the NDP and as president for the federal party has allowed him to travel throughout Canada, something Mungall feels will be valuable for Canadians living in rural areas, like Nelson.
“Brian’s work from coast to coast to coast, he’s been all over this country and in my conversations with him he has a very good understanding of rural issues in our country and British Columbia and I wouldn’t be supporting him if I didn’t,” she said.
Since Topp announced his candidacy only one other candidate has declared their intention to run. Former Cree leader and rookie MP Romeo Saganash joined the race on Friday.
“This will be quite the race and it will be a long race, about seven months,” said Mungall.
“It will be interesting to see who steps forward. I have no doubt that in the New Democrats there will be a lot of great quality candidates but somebody has to stand out for every voter more than the others and for me it was Brian Topp, and in the end I still know it will be him, so I wanted to get in on his campaign early on and help him however I can.”
Other MPs such as Libby Davies of Vancouver East and Nathan Cullen of Skeena-Bulkley Valley have expressed interest in the leadership race but have not yet declared whether or not they’re running.
Mungall said it is important that the candidates don’t attempt to replace former NDP leader Jack Layton.
“I think what’s most important is that whoever is running for leadership doesn’t attempt to fill Jack’s shoes, he was one of a kind and they need to bring their own shoes to this race and I think Brian’s are excellent and they are the right pair,” she said.