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

COS urges compliance in wake of province-wide drive for enforcement

The COS has undertaken a province-wide project focused on enforcement as well as education.

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

UPDATE: Missing mushroom picker located in Anahim Lake area

The mushroom picker was from Ulkatcho First Nation

Prince Rupert’s ferry issue is a North Coast issue, MLA Rice

Prince Rupert not alone in fight to save ferry to Ketchikan: Alaskan Rep. Ortiz

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Most Read