It's been awhile since the NDP unveiled a high-profile candidate outside Quebec. But the news that Michael Byers will seek the NDP's nomination in Vancouver Centre offers yet another indication that Layton and company are doing extremely well in the candidate recruitment department - as can be seen from the Libs' desperate attempts to spin away its impact.
To listen to part of the Libs' response, Byers is a terribly controversial candidate who will prove toxic in Toronto if one takes a couple of lines out of context from a 2006 interview. Which is presumably why the Libs themselves tried multiple times to recruit him, including through a personal plea from Stephane Dion.
Mind you, the Libs do have an excuse up their sleeve as to why that effort failed: according to them, Byers wanted the Libs to "remove any competition" for a riding nomination. Which would be a heck of a lot more plausible if he hadn't chosen to run for a party which doesn't even have a candidate appointment process to offer that kind of non-competition.
In sum, while the Libs are trying to minimize both their previous desire to have Byers run for them and his future impact, it seems clear that Layton and the NDP have once again won out in a direct contest for a star candidate. And that success may only hint at the NDP's ability to similarly win over voters when the next election rolls around.