POLITICS
09/20/2011 02:21 EDT | Updated 11/20/2011 05:12 EST

NDP's Turmel Would Be Pleased To See Provincial Wing Of NDP In Quebec

AP

The NDP's interim leader Nycole Turmel says she would be pleased to see a provincial wing of the NDP established in Quebec.

Speaking to Huffington Post Canada earlier this month, Turmel acknowledged the lack of a provincial presence in Quebec means MPs and leadership candidates will have to work harder to sign up members.

"If there was a party, I would accept it voluntarily -- that's clear," she said smiling.

But she noted it would be up to Quebecers to decide.

"It is not my priority right now, it's not the priority of the party to establish the NDP party in Quebec. It has to come from them, to say we would like to have a party and we will see later," she told Huffington Post.

Her MPs, however, Turmel said, will be out in the field "everywhere" this fall.

"They will out there and they will make sure that we sell as many cards as possible this (leadership race) is a great momentum to be able to do that," she said.

In an exclusive interview Sunday, Quebec MP and possible leadership contender Thomas Mulcair said he believed Quebec candidates in the leadership race are at a disadvantage because all the other provinces have a New Democratic Party whose members are eligible to vote in the federal leadership contest.

Those provinces have more people working to sign up members and, because of recent and upcoming elections, more boots are on the ground selling membership cards.

It's not a level playing field for a Quebec politician, Mulcair suggested.

Monday, he told reporters the federal party should look at the possibility of having a "non-partisan" membership drive in Quebec.

"This wouldn't be about one candidate over another but it would compensate the mathematical fact that Quebec is the only province that does not have a provincial wing of the NDP. And perhaps it would be a question of putting some resources aside so that the party could seek out memberships," he said.

The NDP's central office said they are looking at beefing up resources and potentially hiring a handful of staff to help process applications and ensure that candidates, MPs and volunteers have the information they want when they go door knocking.

"We are going to make sure to have more people on hand to process the forms more quickly," said Riccardo Filippone, the NDP's interim deputy national director.

The party has no plans to fund a membership drive, Flippone added, but it will devote staff specifically for Quebec to compensate for the lack of presence on the ground and to ensure Canadians who want to join the party can do so smoothly.