Alongside the game of Liberal musical chairs, another leadership race is shaping up in Ottawa. And this one could mean more than a new face on an old bill of goods.

When Alexa McDonough announced this week that she was stepping down after seven years at the helm of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP), she spawned a leadership race that could change the terrain of Canadian politics. And she did it on purpose.

Though the party has made gains in popularity — and seats in the House — since McDonough took over, they’ve stayed on the margins of federal politics in the shadow of official opposition parties and right-wing headline catchers.

McDonough resigned, she said, to spark a revitalization of the party: “An important attribute of leadership is knowing when to pass the torch” — a nod to Chretien. rabble Editor Lisa Rundle caught up with Alexa McDonough yesterday afternoon.