Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday September 5, 2019
Can Jagmeet Singh and the NDP bounce back?
To take the full measure of the unprecedented plight of the New Democratic Party less than 50 days before the Oct. 21 federal vote consider the following:
* For the first time in decades the NDP will not be mounting a campaign tour on par with that of the Liberals and the Conservatives. Jagmeet Singh’s party is too poor to charter a dedicated plane this year.
That may come as a relief to many cash-strapped media organizations. They are effectively being spared having to decide to downsize their coverage of the NDP tour the better to devote shrinking resources to those of the two leading contenders for power.
* In what would also be a first in years, it looks like the party may not be able to field candidates across the board. What is virtually certain is that the NDP will start the campaign with less than a full slate.
The dearth of nominated candidates extends beyond regions like Atlantic Canada where the party did poorly in the last election. In Quebec, where the NDP elected its largest provincial contingent in the past two elections, more than half of the 78 ridings are still without a standard-bearer.
To come late to the battle in a competitive election (whose date is anything but a surprise) is the equivalent of fighting with one’s hand tied behind one’s back.
* Only four years after the federal New Democrats launched their most credible bid for government, they are fighting an uphill battle to hang on to third place and official party status in the next Parliament
In Quebec, the Bloc Québécois has overtaken its former NDP nemesis. On average, BQ support province-wide is three times higher than that of the New Democrats. The latter are running a distant fifth behind the Green party.
In New Brunswick, more than a dozen former NDP candidates and organizers voted with their feet and moved over to Elizabeth May’s party earlier this week.
When it comes to apportioning blame for the predicament the party finds itself in, it is easy to point the finger at Singh’s uncertain performance as leader or to attribute it to some latent racism inspired by the fact that he wears a turban.
Singh’s first years as leader have featured more misses than hits. His transition from the Ontario scene to Parliament Hill has not been particularly smooth. And yes, it is almost certainly hard for some voters to identify with a turban-wearing leader.
But many of the elements of the perfect storm that threatens to engulf the NDP in the upcoming election either predate his arrival at the helm or would have plagued any leader. (Continued, Toronto Star)