OTTAWA - Ottawa MP Paul Dewar is poised to join the race for the NDP leadership.
He sent an email Wednesday to supporters urging them to join him for "an important announcement" on Sunday.
"Friends, I have news to share and I want you to be a part of it," he wrote.
Dewar has made no secret of the fact that he's been assembling a cross-country leadership team and weighing his chances.
The 48-year-old was first elected to Parliament in 2006 and was re-elected in 2008 and 2011. He is currently the NDP's foreign affairs critic.
So far, only party president Brian Topp and Quebec MP Romeo Saganash have formally declared their intention to succeed Jack Layton, who died last month of cancer.
Other MPs are still weighing their chances, including Thomas Mulcair of Quebec, Peter Julian and Nathan Cullen of British Columbia, Pat Martin and Niki Ashton of Manitoba, Peggy Nash from Ontario and Nova Scotia's Robert Chisholm.
Dewar, the son of late Ottawa mayor and NDP MP Marion Dewar, has deep roots in the party.
He's seen by some party stalwarts as a "unifying alternative" to the two perceived frontrunners, Topp and Mulcair, around whom the contest has polarized in the early days.
However, Dewar is not fluently bilingual and that could prove a handicap in a party that is determined to build on its historic breakthrough in Quebec in last May's election. The NDP took 59 of Quebec's 75 seats and MPs from that province now make up more than half the NDP caucus.
Dewar has called his French "a work in progress."
New Democrats will choose Layton's successor on Mar. 24.
Age: 51 Executive Director of ACTRA Toronto Former NDP party president So far the front runner, Topp has already received endorsements from former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, former Saskatchewan NDP Premier Roy Romanow and Quebec Liberal turned NDP MP Françoise Boivin. A bilingual Quebecer, Topp was the first to announce his bid. Despite having no electoral experience, Topp cites his work on in party's back rooms helping coordinate four national election campaigns, his senior advisor role as a deputy chief-of-staff to Romanow and his experience as a leader in the union movement. He stepped down from his role as NDP party president upon officially registering as a candidate. Topp has begun a cross-Canada trip, speaking out against the Keystone Pipeline, the Conservatives decision to kill the Wheat Board and the need to strengthen public health care and the national public pension plan.
Age: 56 MP for Outremont, Quebec, since 2007 (won a by-election) Mulcair announced his candidacy in the Montreal riding of Côte-des-Neiges. He has expressed concerns, however, that because the NDP does not have a provincial wing, as a Quebec candidate, he may be at a disadvantage. Mulcair, the party's house leader and Quebec Lieutenant, told The Huffington Post Canada he has the support of the vast majority of the Quebec caucus. Although the NDP has approximately 87,000 members, less than 1,700 come from Quebec.
Age: 48 MP for Ottawa Centre since 2006 Paul Dewar has resigned his position as the NDP's foreign affairs critic and entered the leadership race. Dewar has been the MP for the Ottawa-Centre since 2006. The riding was briefly held by former NDP leader Ed Broadbent from 2004 to 2006. Dewar's mother, Marion Dewar, was a well-known NDP supporter who also sat in the Commons but is better remembered as mayor of the city of Ottawa.
Age: 39 MP for Skeena--Bulkley Valley since 2004 The 39-year-old MP from northern British Columbia is billing himself as an anti-establishment contender who will put an end to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's brand of aggressively partisan politics. With files from the Canadian Press
Age: 48 MP for Abitibi--Baie-James--Nunavik--Eeyou since 2011 Although a new MP, Saganash, a Cree leader has been active in politics for some 25 years. He worked with the Grand Council of Crees to obtain in 2002 a groundbreaking agreement with the Quebec government called La Paix Des Braves that provided for revenue sharing in mining, forestry and hydroelectric projects. Saganash is expected to officially drop out of the race on Feb. 10 2012.
Age: 38 While Martin Singh has never run for elected office, he is president of the federal NDP's Faith and Social Justice Commission. The Nova Scotia Businessman has degrees in chemistry, chemical engineering and pharmacy from Dalhousie University and an MBA from Saint Mary's University. He is a partner in Precision Health Group, which owns five pharmacies and six care facilities in Nova Scotia and Ontario. He is a convert to Sikhism and served as the first Caucasian president of the Maritime Sikh Society. With files from CBC
Age: 60 MP for Parkdale--High Park , Ontario, in 2006 and in 2011 (She lost in 2008). NDP MP Peggy Nash will become the first women to join the NDP leadership race when she makes her formal announcement Friday. Nash is the party's current finance critic.
Age: 29 MP for Churchill, Manitoba, since 2008 Ashton is the youngest candidate, the second female and the second candidate from Western Canada to enter the leadership race.
Age: 54 MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour,since 2011, although he served many years a member of the provincial assembly in the 1990s and the leader of NDP in Nova Scotia from 1996 to 1999. Chisholm announced his run Oct. 30 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. A few days before, Chisholm posted on his Facebook page an invite for "A Very Special Announcement this Sunday October 30th 11am, at Alderney Landing in downtown Dartmouth. "I deeply appreciate all of the support that so many of you have shown me so far this year and I would be so grateful to see you on Sunday. Thank you, and please share this message as widely as possible," read the post. Chisholm has admitted he is actively soliciting donations for a possible leadership bid and is trying to build a team across the country. "If I commit to this, I'm going to be running a campaign to win. I'm not going to be running a campaign to try to increase my profile. I'm quite happy with my profile," he told the Chronicle Herald. Although Chisholm is not bilingual, he is taking immersion courses and working on his French skills with private tutors.
Age: 49 MP for B.C. riding of Burnaby--New Westminster since 2004 After consulting with the NDP family, Julian has decided not to run to be leader. "Like many other New Democrats, I have been asking myself and others how best to continue the legacy of Jack Layton as we move forward to government in 2015. I have decided that my role is to continue my work as Interim Caucus Chair at this key point in our history and, as Industry Critic, to continue our work with the other significant economic roles in our shadow cabinet to put in place strong alternatives to the current government on jobs and the economy," Julian said in a statement.