NDP leadership contender Brian Topp has locked up more support in British Columbia ahead of the anticipated arrival of two more MPs in the race to replace Jack Layton.
Mr. Topp revealed in Victoria the endorsement of former B.C. NDP leader and current MLA Carole James, along with three other NDP MLAs on Vancouver Island: Maureen Karagianis, Scott Fraser, Bill Routley and Doug Routley.
"Brian Topp is the right leader at the right time for our party," Ms. James said in a news release. "His vision of a more equal Canada will mean new investments in the people, skills, and knowledge that we need to secure our economic future, here on Vancouver Island and throughout the country."
NDP MP Peggy Nash is scheduled to announce her own bid in Toronto on Friday, while her colleague, Robert Chisholm, is set to join the race in Dartmouth on Sunday. Ms. Nash is the party's finance critic and she would be the first woman in the race, while Mr. Chisholm, the former leader of the NDP in Nova Scotia, would be the first MP from the Maritimes.
Other candidates in the race are Quebec MPs Thomas Mulcair and Romeo Saganash, B.C. MP Nathan Cullen, Ottawa MP Paul Dewar and Nova Scotia businessman Martin Singh.
Given the number of high-profile endorsements that he has already received, Mr. Topp is widely seen as the frontrunner in the race. His support in British Columbia is key as the province is home to about one-third of NDP members, who will each have one vote at the convention on March 24.
Mr. Topp has already revealed that he has the support of NDP deputy leader and MP Libby Davies, a key party figure in Vancouver.
Before Mr. Layton's death last August, Mr. Topp had been enlisted to run the NDP campaign in the next provincial election, which many had predicted for this fall.