NDP welcomes new candidate in Quebec who is 'not that much' of a sovereigntist

MONTREAL — The NDP welcomed a candidate Wednesday who says she is "not that much" of a sovereigntist as it continued a push launched this week to rebuild in Quebec ahead of the federal election.

Nima Machouf, a member of the sovereigntist Quebec solidaire provincial party, acknowledged that the NDP has a steep climb ahead of it to recapture the success it enjoyed under the late Jack Layton in 2011.

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"We have some difficulties actually in Quebec," Machouf said. "We are not like 10 years ago, when we had a big orange wave, but we have to create again this wave."

Alexandre Boulerice, the Montreal MP named deputy to leader Jagmeet Singh Monday, presented Machouf as the candidate for the downtown riding of Laurier—Sainte-Marie in the election expected in October. Helene Laverdiere, who has held the riding since 2011, has announced she will not run again.

Machouf, whose husband is former Quebec solidaire spokesman Amir Khadir, said she is drawn to the NDP's progressive agenda and its commitment to fight neo-liberalism. Asked whether she defines herself as a sovereigntist, she replied, "Not that much .... I define myself as a progressive."

In Ottawa, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said he is very happy to have recruited a candidate of the calibre of Machouf, an epidemiologist who works in the field of public health.

He said her continued membership in Quebec solidaire proves his party is open to people like her who have nationalist beliefs. But he stressed that the party believes in "a united country."

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