Jagmeet Singh on Tuesday said he feels secure under his leadership despite the NDP’s seat count barely moving after a pandemic election that exposed a tarnished Liberal brand and saw Canadians consistently vote for him as the most popular party. Ranks as major.
The New Democrat leader said his caucus would still make progress in parliament, despite his campaign’s talk that Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could not be trusted.
“I’m excited about the important work we have to do,” Singh said in Vancouver. “We had a similar position in the last parliament and we were able to win a really important victory.”
The New Democrats had 24 seats in the House of Commons at the time of their dissolution and, while some close races are still being counted, they appear to have only got one or two seats as of Tuesday evening.
Singh said he was proud of his team, but was “disappointed” that several NDP candidates who failed to win their ride would not join him in Ottawa.
The performance on election day was much smaller than Singh’s predecessor Tom Mulcair’s result of 44 seats in 2015, which led to a leadership review and Singh’s elevation in 2017.
Monday inspired some déj vu among New Democrats after a tough 2019 race that cost him 20 seats. Singh was relatively new to the federal scene at the time, with only two years under his belt as the leader of a party that also faced financial pain.
This time around, the NDP spent millions more, and Singh enjoyed a declared record of promoting nationwide name recognition and pandemic relief. He was also consistently found as the most liked leader in opinion polls, taking advantage of an outsized social media presence that combined talking points and trap beats.
But they didn’t translate into authentic ballots—”the only currency that matters,” said Carl Belanger, president of consulting firm Traxion Strategies and a former senior advisor to the NDP.
The NDP failed to make significant gains in key ridings in Quebec and downtown Toronto, and its share of the popular vote—17.7 percent as of Tuesday—fell short of turnout estimates.
“You have lost some seats, won some more seats. So you’re spilling water. You need to do better. And the key to that is to get the people who say they will vote for you to actually vote for you,” Belanger said.
He said Singh’s place in the party was secure at least in the short term.
“I have full faith in Jagmeet,” NDP MP Taylor Bacharach said in an interview.
Experts questioned the New Democrats’ strategy after the out-of-vote effort failed last week.
The NDP had hoped to win, but those are still in doubt as the mail-in ballots are counted: Toronto’s Davenport Ride, Montreal’s Laurier-Saint-Marie, Berthier-Masquinong in rural Quebec, in the southwest. Windsor-Tecumseh Ontario, New Democrat-held Hamilton Mountain and, in downtown Toronto, Spadina_Fort York, where the Liberal candidate was effectively dropped from the party over the weekend, but still managed to come forward.
The New Democrats also lost their last doubts in Atlantic Canada, St. John’s East, after NDP MP Jack Harris opted not to seek re-election.
“They can’t take it for granted,” said Sanjay Jerram, senior lecturer in political science at Simon Fraser University.
“If you are thinking about under what kind of circumstances the NDP under the leadership of Jagmeet Singh can achieve its success, this was it. And he didn’t draw it. “
The party won a pair of new seats in Edmonton and the Lower Mainland Ridge of Port Moody-Coquitlam in British Columbia. It also maintained a weak lead in Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s previous green riding.
Jerram said the liberal shift on social policy and spending-happy budgets to the left has “squeezed” the NDP, and puts together a base that hits everyone from unionized trade workers to urban progressives hard. “I’m not sure leadership is an imminent problem.”
Singh on Tuesday criticized Trudeau for holding the election during the pandemic, saying it seemed to result in long lines, less access and ultimately less turnout at polling stations. A lack of polling places on campuses due to Election Canada’s decision driven by COVID-19 concerns may have hurt the NDP’s prospects, as youth vote orange in greater numbers.
The New Democrats, as the fourth party, are still back in a position to maintain a balance of power in supporting the minority Liberal government after a 36-day campaign that focused primarily on Singh’s criticism of Trudeau, Often in very personal terms.
Singh said he had no intention of forcing another election.
“We successfully used our position (in the last minority parliament) to win a really big victory for the Canadian people. They were better off because we were there,” he said.
“We’ll do the same.”
By Kelly Geraldine Malone and Christopher Reynolds
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times