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Acting national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Nycole Turmel, smiles in celebration of the verdict by the Federal Court upholding the Human Rights Tribunal's ruling on pay equity at a news conference in Ottawa, October 19.REUTERS/Jim Young

Jack Layton has recommended that the NDP be led in coming months by Nycole Turmel, 69, who is best known as the former head of the main union of federal workers in Ottawa.

Elected for the first time to the House of Commons on May 2, Ms. Turmel is the MP for Hull-Aylmer and the president of the NDP's national caucus. She is also the critic for Public Works and Government Services Canada, and she has quickly took a spot on the front benches of the NDP when the new session of Parliament opened in the spring.

Ms. Turmel jumped on the national stage a decade ago as president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, when the union won a long battle with the federal government over the issue of pay equity on behalf of women civil servants.

Ms. Turmel's nomination as the temporary replacement for NDP Leader Jack Layton must still be ratified by the caucus, but she has Mr. Layton's nod for the position.

"Ms. Turmel enjoys unanimous support as the national chair of our Parliamentary caucus. She is an experienced national leader in both official languages. And she will do an excellent job as our national interim leader," Mr. Layton said as he announced his decision to step aside to fight a new cancer.