03/21/2012 02:49 EDT | Updated 05/21/2012 05:12 EDT

A quick look at NDP leadership candidate Brian Topp

OTTAWA - A look at the life and career of NDP leadership candidate Brian Topp.

Born — Longeuil, Que., July 4, 1960. Age 51.

Educated — Received a BA in history and political science from McGill University.

Private career — After university, founded a Montreal graphic design and typesetting company, served as editor-in-chief of Open City Magazine. In and around subsequent political jobs, served as senior vice-president of Credit Union Central of Canada, then executive director of ACTRA Toronto, the union representing film, TV and radio artists. Serves as director on board of Pinewood Toronto Studios, chairman of the board of Creative Arts Savings and Credit Union, co-chair of Film Ontario and director on board of ROI Fund.

Political career — Never been elected to public office, but was a longtime backroom strategist for the NDP, federally and provincially. Served as legislative assistant to NDP's first Quebec MP, Phil Edmonston, writer and researcher for former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, deputy chief of staff to former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow. A key adviser to late NDP leader Jack Layton, including serving as national campaign director for the 2006 and 2008 elections and lead negotiator during 2008 coalition talks with the Liberals and Bloc Quebecois. Acclaimed president of the NDP in spring of 2011.

Personal life — Married, two children.

For the record — "We don’t have to become Liberals to win. We don’t have to go to the centre, the centre has come to us. To become what we oppose when we win is to defeat ourselves." Explaining how he believes the NDP can win the next election.