Topp seeks to carry on Layton's legacy
Brian Topp admits nobody can fill the shoes left behind by former NDP Leader Jack Layton.
However, the federal NDP leadership candidate believes the party can carry on the late leader's work.
That work begins by picking Layton's replacement.
Topp was in Kamloops on Friday, Oct. 28, as part of a provincewide to gather support for his bid to become federal NDP leader.
Topp, who is party president, said he expects to spend a lot of time in the province, noting one-third of NDP members are from B.C.
"Nobody is going to be elected leader of the NDP without doing well in B.C.," he said, adding he believes the race will be decided by the province's party members.
Topp is following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Layton, who visited and campaigned in the Tournament Capital numerous times during the past few years.
Topp said he is determined, if elected, to get an NDP MP elected in the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding.
For more than 20 years, to the end of the 1990s, the riding was a stronghold for the orange party with Nelson Riis.
As leader, Topp said, he plans to defeat the ruling Tories by running a positive campaign and governing for a purpose, which he said includes creating "a more equal country."
Touching on that topic, Topp said he supports the Occupy movements, such as the one in North Kamloops.
Topp said the Conservative government's agenda has resulted in serious income gaps, arguing the very wealthiest in the country are hoarding more and more wealth.
"It's time to pursue better priorities," he said.
Topp is one of seven candidates looking to lead the party following the death of Layton in August to cancer.
Other candidates include NDP Deputy Leader Thomas Mulcair, Paul Dewar, Nathan Cullen, Peggy Nash, Roméo Saganash and Nova Scotia pharmacist Martin Singh.
Topp also picked up support during his visit to Kamloops from some local high-profile party members.
Fraser-Nicola NDP MLA Harry Lali and former local federal NDP candidate Michael Crawford threw their support behind the longtime party strategist.
Lali said he is impressed with Topp's style of leadership and ability to bring out the best in people to work together.
"I'm very confident he'll look after all regions of our country and especially rural Canada," Lali said.
Crawford said Topp is the best choice to stand up to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and advance the social-democratic roots of the party.