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Preaching parliamentary peace, NDP shows off election war room Add to ...

Jack Layton and the NDP don’t want an election but first thing Monday morning they took the media on a tour of their new 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the art election war room.

The NDP wants Parliament to work, national director Brad Lavigne said. But just minutes before he was showing off the ominous sounding “outreach and persuasion” department, where voters who are on the fence may or may not be persuaded to vote for the New Democrats.

That unit is just around the corner from the “integrated media wall,” featuring eight flat-screen television sets mounted where staffers can monitor all of the news coverage on the national networks – in both official languages – and even pick up local stations in the regions.

Mr. Lavigne is quite excited about the newly-renovated space (he has a corner office) and was aided on the tour by the latest in technology – an Apple iPad.

Asked about the seeming contradiction between this tour of force and not wanting an election, Mr. Lavigne explained that if Stephen Harper “doesn’t want to make Parliament work, then we are prepared, if need be, to go the people.”

“When these people ask, ‘Are they serious about trying to get things done?’ Absolutely. ‘Are they serious about being election-ready?’ Absolutely,” he said.

Mr. Lavigne believes the next campaign will be about “people.” As such, the NDP is pushing hard for pension protection, help for seniors and removing the HST from home heating oil. “People just want a break out there. They’re working hard. People are working paycheque to paycheque ... and if that’s where we keep our message, I think we’ll do very well,” he said.

Sounding very bullish about the NDP’s chances in the next election, he said two-thirds of the ridings they are targeting to win are now held by the Conservatives. And as he was showing the world this morning that the NDP is prepared, he said the party has identified 250 of a possible 308 candidates. The NDP currently holds 36 seats compared to 143 for the Conservatives.

Their war room is located in a downtown Ottawa office building the party purchased in 2004. It recently underwent a renovation, the cost of which the party will not reveal.

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