NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has kick-started his election campaign, using his first partisan rally to try to persuade Canadians to extend the "orange wave" that took over Quebec in 2011.
Mr. Mulcair said Canada's first "social-democratic" government was within reach, pointing to his party's accomplishments as the Official Opposition to the Conservative government over the past four years.
"I can't wait for the progressives in the rest of Canada to join forces with the progressives in Quebec to form the first NDP social-democratic government in the history of Canada," he said, surrounded by MPs and candidates in Montreal on Tuesday. "The orange wave started here in Quebec, and on Oct. 19, we can complete the job."
The NDP Leader took questions from the media for the first time in the campaign, after simply delivering a speech on Sunday and then holing up on Monday to get ready for the first leaders' debate on Thursday.
"I think I've heard you have a few questions for me," Mr. Mulcair told the journalists covering the event.
He went on to address a series of matters, namely his party's nuanced stance against a pipeline that would go through Quebec and his position on a proposed free-trade zone among Pacific countries.
"We cannot approve Energy East without a credible environmental assessment process," Mr. Mulcair said, stopping short of supporting or opposing the project.
On free trade, he said his party was "enthusiastic" about a proposed deal with Europe, although he added that the NDP has "tough questions" about some of the provisions.
"We are also enthusiastically in favour of a trade deal with our Pacific partners, but what is going to happen? What will be on the table with [Stephen] Harper negotiating right in the middle of the election campaign?" Mr. Mulcair said. "He is weak, he is vulnerable, he was never a good negotiator to begin with."
The NDP Leader praised Canada's supply-management system – which could take a hit in the Trans-Pacific Partnership – stating that it has allowed Canadian families to hold on to their farms.
"We are going to stand up strongly and defend, every step of the way, our supply-management system," Mr. Mulcair said.
The Conservative Leader attacked the NDP caucus as weak and ineffective in his campaign appearances in Quebec on Sunday and Monday. Mr. Mulcair countered that his "hard-working MPs provided concrete results," pointing specifically to the party's opposition to the government's anti-terrorism legislation.
"We stood up to him on scandal and corruption, his failed economic plan, and most notably on Bill C-51. We stood up, we fought," Mr. Mulcair said. "Mr. Harper voted for it, the Liberals voted for it, only the NDP stood up against C-51."
The NDP Leader added that his caucus was Mr. Harper's "worst nightmare," stating the Conservatives had "steamrolled" over the last two Liberal leaders who led the Official Opposition in the House.