Designing the ‘orange wave’

It was a groundbreaking campaign for the NDP and then-leader Jack Layton; the orange wave swept the party to popularity like never before and right into official Opposition status.

If you ask the NDP, Layton was building the strategy behind that wave for years, even before he became leader. He had help from a select few, and one joined The West Block with Tom Clark this week.

Brad Lavigne was the national campaign director for Layton, and has just published a book about the historic 2011 victory, called Building the Orange Wave.

“I know people throughout Canada loved the messenger, but they also loved the message,” Lavigne said. “He was certainly a big part of not only its creation, but its delivery.”

Since Justin Trudeau took the reins of the Liberal party, the NDP’s ratings have suffered. But Lavigne brushes off the shift in the polls as a pattern that’s played out with previous Liberal leaders, including Paul Martin, Stephan Dion and Michael Ignatieff.

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“All these kinds of leaders has honeymoon periods and a resurgence,” he said. “I think that wash [NDP leader] Tom Mulcair and the team need to look at for 2015, the next election campaign, is the long game. Not cornering themselves with the short-term polls.”

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