VIDEO: NDP launches charm offensive with Jagmeet Singh as it kicks off leader’s tour

One of Singh’s goals is to unlock the party’s potential in suburban ridings around Toronto,Vancouver

The NDP is trying to boost the profile of its new leader Jagmeet Singh, launching an introductory tour in Ottawa on Sunday that is expected to take the party’s new leader into every province and territory before a policy convention in February.

One of Singh’s main goals is to unlock the party’s potential in suburban ridings around Toronto and Vancouver — a growth plan that could represent a significant shift for the party that has not been witnessed since it made a historic breakthrough in Quebec, said former NDP national director Karl Belanger.

“I am talking about a geopolitical shift in the NDP universe on a scale that was seen in 2011 when the Orange Wave was created by Jack Layton and the NDP,” he said in an interview.

“Those areas are, in this country, key to form government and that’s what Jagmeet’s leadership brings to the table and it does have some Liberal organizers worried.”

There are no guarantees, however, that Singh can deliver in competitive suburban ridings, noting the party must also stay connected with supporters in Quebec, where it has 16 seats.

“The realities of these voters are quite different than those from the 905 and the greater Vancouver area,” he said.

READ MORE: Jagmeet Singh chosen as new leader of federal NDP

READ MORE: Majority of Canadians open to a Sikh Prime Minister, but three-in-ten aren’t

“In that sense, it will be a challenge for the NDP to be able to connect with both pools of voters. That’s a big challenge. If you are unable to make the inroads in the region you are seeking as growth … but at the same time you lose the base that you have, you don’t end up with very much at the end.”

NDP strategist Robin MacLachlan, also the vice-president of the public affairs firm Summa Strategies, said it will be key for Singh and the party to visit the province early and often.

Singh and his parliamentary leader Guy Caron recently paid a visit to the Quebec riding of Lac-Saint-Jean, where a byelection will be held on Oct. 23 — a competition sparked by the departure of Conservative MP Denis Lebel.

MacLachlan said the campaign-style national leader’s tour in the weeks ahead will allow the party to tap into Singh’s strengths.

“Jagmeet’s greatest challenge is of course his greatest opportunity: a great many Canadians haven’t had the chance to get to know him yet,” he said.

“That’s not surprising for a new federal leader but it is an incredible opportunity.”

The more people get to know Singh, the more they like him, MacLachlan said, noting this was evident throughout the NDP leadership race and in the recent stop in Lac-Saint-Jean.

Singh is not a “quick fix” leader, he added, pointing to the organizational abilities that his team demonstrated during his leadership campaign through fundraising and signing up new members to the party.

“You are going to see him and his team bring that same energy to the NDP,” he said.

“It is badly needed. The organization has been in a rut since the last election … it needs that rejuvenation, it needs the new tools and energy that comes from a team like Jagmeet’s.”

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

“Huge disappointment” as BCVT learns Northern Sea Wolf will not sail this summer

The Nimpkish is arrriving near-empty as frustrated travelers can’t get to Bella Bella for transfer

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Protection order issued after Bella Coola bear attack

Fruit trees to be removed after sow grizzly defended cubs and sent man to hospital

Bella Coola enjoys 33rd Annual Valley Ridge Riders Rodeo

Sunny skies on Monday added a welcome touch to an otherwise damp weekend

First Nation pipeline protesters erect ‘tiny homes’ in B.C. Park

Kanahus Manuel and Tiny House Warriors say more homes being constructed in park

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako… Continue reading

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

Most Read