Mulcair will stay on as the party’s Quebec lieutenant and is already busy fundraising, organizing and recruiting candidates in a province that has traditionally been a wasteland for New Democrats.
But he said Monday’s result has already made an impression on his possible recruits. One name being bandied about as a possible candidate is Julius Grey, a high-profile human rights lawyer from Montreal.
"The victory will make it easier for us to recruit high-profile candidates," Mulcair said.
"We’ve been speaking with people all along. But let me just say the body language is becoming far more positive (after Monday)."
The New Democrats will now turn their attention to specific pockets of the province where they believe they have the best chance of making additional gains. A main target will be ridings similar to Outremont: multi-ethnic, federalist and urban.
Mulcair said that parts of Montreal are prized targets, as are some resource-producing regions in outlying areas.
Here are the ridings the NDP is likely to target, without much success in my view.
Hull--Aylmer: The NDP's third best Quebec result in 2006 (15.5%). Although the riding is not located in Montreal, the dynamics are similar in that we see declining Liberal vote totals over the course of the last few elections. Former NDP leadership candidate Pierre Ducasse will be running for the NDP, having failed to come close in the Manicouagan riding in 2004 or 2006. Ducasse is smart, articulate, and dedicated, but his popularity within the party does not necessarily translate into votes come election time. That said, the gap between the Liberals and the NDP in this riding is smaller than the gap that existed in Outremont. Still, Ducasse is no Thomas Mulcair. Consider this the NDP's #1 target for a new seat in Quebec.
Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine: The NDP's sixth best Quebec result in 2006 (11.8%). A Liberal fortress in Montreal represented by popular Liberal MP Marlene Jennings. The NDP has room to grow, but it would require nothing short of a miracle for the party to knock off Jennings.
Westmount--Ville-Marie [QC]: The NDP's 4th best Quebec result (15.4%). A Liberal stronghold neighbouring Outremont. Unfortunately for the NDP, there are not enough BQ votes to bleed to the NDP to make a difference in this this riding
Laurier--Sainte-Marie: The NDP's second best Quebec result in 2006 (16.9%). However, this sovereignist stronghold, which neighbours Outremont, is currently held by BQ leader Gilles Duceppe who took well over 50% of the vote in 2006. The NDP finished 5th here behind the Marijuana Party in 2000.
Manicouagan: The NDP's fifth best Quebec result in 2006 (12.8%). An outlying riding which saw some of the NDP's best numbers in 2004 and 2006 thanks to the candidacy of former NDP leadership candidate Pierre Ducasse. However, the NDP still finished in 4th place in 2006 and without Ducasse as a candidate, NDP fortunes do not seem very bright.
Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie: The NDP's seventh best Quebec result in 2006 (11.6%). A Montreal riding, neighbouring Outremont, respresented by the BQ since 1993. A sovereignist stronghold. The NDP could aim for second place here, but there is too much ground to make up. The party finished 6th place here in 2000.
Gatineau: An awkward vote split could give the NDP longshot odds in Gatineau where it took 10% of the vote in 2006. The victorious BQ candidate won only 39.3%.