So far, media coverage of Guy Caron's NDP leadership campaign has focused largely on one note (that being his basic income proposal). But there's plenty more to his candidacy - and he may well emerge as the party's favourite when it comes time to vote.
Both Caron's core campaign promise and his signature issues in Parliament (including fighting tax evasion and facilitating family transfers of small businesses) connect to his theme of economic competence. And the primary message he's conveying to NDP voters is indeed that he can both help reframe the debate on economic issues, and provide an answer to anybody questioning the NDP's strength in that area.
But in case anybody feared that Caron would be limited to talking numbers, he's had plenty of answers so far - offering both personal stories, and strong responses in every policy area covered. And in particular, Caron has offered both the most pointed critiques and best one-liners in responding to the Trudeau Libs.
The most significant issue for the moment looks to be a mismatch between Caron's current communication skills and the NDP's pool of voters. Caron's substantive comments are no less strong in English than in French. But for the moment, his accent is just thick enough to require some effort to work through - giving him a greater degree of difficulty in reaching most of the voters he needs to win over.
It also remains to be seen how much political infrastructure Caron can assemble behind him compared to the longer-tenured MPs in the race - though I wouldn't expect that to be a huge issue as the campaign develops.
Based on the above, I'll be watching for Caron's favourability outside Quebec. If he's within range of his fellow candidates, that should serve as an indication that he's made it over any language barrier and thus has room to grow.
Caron's best-case scenario involves being able to appeal on later ballots to voters who have both an inclination toward policy, and a strong interest in a leader with Quebec ties. Since Peter Julian's base fits both bills, he looms as the candidate Caron most needs to surpass.
Best-case: Enough early support to reach the final ballot, where Caron would have a strong chance of emerging as a compromise candidate
Worst-case: A fourth-place finish, as higher membership numbers from the West and Ontario outweigh Caron's home-province support