The federal NDP leadership race is heating up – even though most expected candidates seem reluctant to declare their intentions.
MPs Kennedy Stewart and Isabelle Morin emerged from the weekly caucus meeting on Wednesday to urge their colleague Peter Julian, from the B.C. riding of Burnaby–New Westminster, to make a bid for the job left vacant by the death of Jack Layton.
"Peter Julian is the caucus member who has some of the longest experience, he's held many portfolios in the opposition, industry trade, various other positions, has a long history of front-bench activity and we think he's one of the leading MP," Mr. Stewart said.
Two other New Democrat MPs, Brian Masse and Rathika Sitsabaiesan, have also said they would support Mr. Julian.
For his part, Mr. Julian said he remains undecided. "You have to do a lot of consultation, you have to talk to people across the country," he told reporters. "I think all of us are looking at who might be entering and who might not be entering as part of the factors in whether we decide to run or not."
So far, former party president Brian Topp and Quebec MP Romeo Saganash are the only declared candidates.
Megan Leslie, a Nova Scotia MP who previously expressed interest in the entering the race, said Wednesday she had decided for personal reasons keep her name out of contention.
That leaves Peggy Nash, an MP from Toronto, and Libby Davies, an MP from Vancouver, as the only potential female candidates. "I am finance critic and there is a lot happening right now with our economy," Ms. Nash said, "so I am weighing my role as finance critic with my potential role as a candidate."
The Hill Times quoted sources as saying that Paul Dewar, an Ottawa MP, had decided to run. When asked if that was true, he replied that he has said he has a team of organizers cross the country and is still listening to them.
Robert Chisholm from Nova Scotia and Nathan Cullen from British Columbia are still mulling their chances.
Mr. Cullen said after the caucus meeting that he still has a lot of balls in the air. "You will see something, hopefully next week, that will more publicly test the waters," he said.
"I am not just talking to the NDP family and my own family but the broader progressive groups in Canada and seeing if they are interested in a different form of leadership," he said. "I wouldn't do things the same way."