03/23/2012 07:21 EDT | Updated 05/23/2012 05:12 EDT

NDP leadership candidate Peggy Nash pledges tenacity

Thomas Mulcair made a lively and energetic entrance into the convention hall, led by a band of drummers to kick off his NDP leadership showcase.

With the slogan "uniting progressives" projected on a screen behind him, Mulcair spoke about the need to reach out "beyond our traditional base and rally progressives of all stripes" behind the NDP.

Mulcair was forced to rush his speech somewhat because so much time was taken for him to reach the stage due to the crowds that surrounded him. There is a 20-minute time limit for each candidate.

Mulcair's showcase included a video presentation in which he outlined some of his platform and priorities and talked about working shoulder-to-shoulder with the party's late leader, Jack Layton, to make the NDP's breakthrough in Quebec. The party jumped from Mulcair's one seat in Outremont to 59 seats last May, helping to push the NDP to Official Opposition status.

Mulcair highlighted his electoral experience, as a member of Parliament and as a provincial Liberal politician in Quebec, and said he knows how to win. He also talked about the need to inspire young people to vote.

"I know what we're facing, I know what needs to be done," he said.

Mulcair said he has run a positive, upbeat campaign.

"My only adversary sits across from me in the House of Commons," the Montreal MP said, referring to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In his video presentation and speech Mulcair talked about the risks Harper poses to Canada and pitched himself as the person to stop him.