Born and raised in Montreal, Brian Topp studied history at McGill. He became active in the NDP in 1988 and went to Ottawa in 1989 as a staffer for NDP MP Phil Edmonston. During the 1990s he served as deputy chief of staff to Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow and saw the implementation of a successful coalition agreement between the provincial NDP and the Liberals.
He subsequently moved back to the federal arena, managing the NDP war room in the 2004 federal campaign, and acting as national Campaign Director in the 2006 and 2008 elections.
In June 2011 Topp was elected President of the New Democratic Party of Canada and was a close advisor to party leader Jack Layton until Layton’s death in July.
As a close advisor to the late Jack Layton, and intimately involved in composing Layton’s final letter to Canadians, he was seen as a top contender to become Party leader.
In March 2012 Topp lost his bid to become party leader when Thomas Mulcair was selected on the 4th ballot at the leadership convention held in Toronto.