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NDP membership triples ahead of fall leadership vote

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall opposes a carbon tax, but Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton, Guy Caron and Jagmeet Singh support carbon pricing.
Around 124,000 members will be eligible to vote in the upcoming NDP leadership election. File / Global News

The federal New Democratic Party says it has tripled its membership ahead of the fall leadership vote that will see the party elect a permanent replacement for Tom Mulcair.

In a release issued Tuesday afternoon, the NDP said it was “proud to announce” that more than 124,000 members will be eligible to vote for the new leader.

“This figure represents a three-fold increase from the 41,000 who were members at the end of March 2017,” the release notes.

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The biggest boost came from Ontario, where 52,200 members are now registered on the party’s official list. Next, comes B.C. at 31,974, followed by Alberta (10,188), Manitoba (10,134) and Saskatchewan (8,083).

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In Quebec, the province where a wave of support allowed the NDP to catapult into official Opposition in 2011, only 4,907 members are registered. That’s only about half the number the party had signed up there in 2012.

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In order to be eligible to cast a ballot, members had to register before Aug. 17. It’s unclear how many new members were recruited by each of the four remaining leadership candidates.

Those candidates include (in no particular order) Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, Quebec MP Guy Caron, Ontario MP Charlie Angus and Ontario MLA Jagmeet Singh. The significant membership base in Ontario may prove particularly beneficial to Angus and Singh, while the low numbers in Quebec may hurt Caron.

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The party says it will begin mailing out voting packages in early September. Unlike the Conservative Party’s leadership mail-in ballot last spring, the NDP are relying on an online system. Voting starts on Sept. 18, with results of the first ballot announced on Oct. 1 in Toronto.

“If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the second and third round results announcements would take place in Montreal on October 8 and in Ottawa on October 15,” Tuesday’s release explained.

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The party’s last attempt at electronic voting ran into significant problems in 2012 when hackers repeatedly attempted to disrupt the proceedings.

During that race, only around half of the NDP’s then 128,350 eligible members voted in the first round.

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