Can Jagmeet Singh rise to win over voters?

By: Surjit Singh Flora

The rise of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has been very surprising, as the federal election campaign winds its way towards the finish.

It’s certainly a possibility, but at this point, it’s probably not a sure thing. Whatever Mr. Trudeau’s faults may be, the economy has been moving forward for six straight quarters now.

He’s also benefiting from the backlash engendered by the election of Donald Trump and appears to be prepared for the worst – that the Americans will pull out of NAFTA. Most Canadians would side with him on this point if there were a trade war, because no one in Canada believes that Canada’s negotiating position is in any way unreasonable.

Andrew Scheer is facing the same problem in his party, which he’s trying to deal with by isolating the more extreme elements. However, it was just this sort of isolation that drove the Conservative Party apart before. The formation of Reform and the Wild Rose Party can both be traced to Western and social conservative alienation with the Conservative’s traditional support. There are virtually no Conservative MPs in any deep urban area in Canada, and their support in suburban Canada is leaking away to the Liberals as well.

After the Leaders’ Debate and the last week of the election campaign, many eyes were on NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, whose energetic performances have many pundits and voters declaring him an unexpected winner, and that’s certainly seemed to be the case, if polls are to go by.

After the debate in English and French, the leaders of all parties left all the mathematics of election speculation in a confused state. Singh’s performance in the debate was praised by Canadians living coast to coast, as the NDP’s momentum has seemingly awakened.

The needle for the NDP’s popularity revolves around 20 per cent today, at just 13-14 per cent for the last several weeks. After this change, Singh’s enthusiasm has increased tremendously. Now he has forgotten that he will be in favor of forming a coalition government to keep the Conservatives out of power.

This shift in politics takes us back to the days of 2008, when Liberal leader Stephane Dion and NDP leader Jack Layton made plans to form a coalition to defeat the Conservative government. There were rumors of a deputy prime minister reserving a chair for the NDP at that time.

Photo: Surjit Singh Flora

So far, the speculations of political pundits point to the fact that the Conservatives may win the most seats, but it may not be possible to get a majority. On the other hand, it will be a golden opportunity for Jagmeet Singh if and when his personal role in forming the government and possibly becoming the Deputy Prime Minister of his country will take place – history will be created.

Stephen Harper was a philanthropist. He had saved the government from falling by dissolving Parliament, even before the Liberals and the NDP got caught. By the time Parliament reopened, Dion had resigned, and Michael Ignatieff, the new Liberal leader, did not like the Coalition government’s theory.

This will be a prestigious achievement, not just for the Sikh community, but for every minority immigrant who has come to Canada to find a better life. If this opportunity is missed this time, it may be too late and too hard to undertake in the future.

This time, it is also clear that while Singh and Scheer are campaigning enthusiastically, there is not the same tune in the voice of Trudeau in 2019 that was seen in 2015. If the encouragement of a human being is to be seen as a sign of the future, then the possibility of a minority or coalition government for the Liberal Party is a matter of concern even now.

Even the NDP is seeing this possibility. The coalition government has never existed in Canada’s parliamentary history. It is possible that Jagmeet Singh’s contribution to form Canada’s first coalition government could also be credited.

If the Liberals and the NDP form a government together with both or other parties, such as Green or the Bloc Quebecois, Canada will have to be ready next year to handle a budget deficit, as both the Liberals and the NDP’s broader platforms are equipped with.

The NDP is expecting a lot from the election rally organized by Jagmeet Singh in Brampton tonight (Oct. 17) because of these newly emerging political trends. Brampton is Singh’s hometown, and he has an excellent team of volunteers.

While people were present at Justin Trudeau’s Mississauga rally on the weekend, Singh’s rally in Brampton is expected to be just as successful, if not more so.

In 2015, a rally held in Brampton’s Powerade Center in honor of Trudeau was attended by 10,000 people, and that rally changed the course of the election. No one should be surprised if tonight’s Brampton NDP rally forecasts the political fate of Jagmeet Singh.

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora

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