Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday July 23, 2021
If Justin Trudeau doesn’t win a majority in the next election, Jagmeet Singh may be the reason
Some polls have Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole doing poorly, others have him doing worse. But all agree on one thing: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is in a political sweet spot.
If Justin Trudeau fails to win a majority government in an election that could be called as early as next month, it might not be Mr. O’Toole who brings the Liberal leader up short – it might be Mr. Singh.
Leger and Angus Reid have the Conservatives narrowly trailing the Liberals, while Ipsos and Abacus have the Liberals far ahead.
Canadians believe their governments have, on the whole, managed the COVID-19 pandemic reasonably well, and over the course of that pandemic have rewarded incumbent governments of all stripes with re-election.
The similarities between the COVID-19 pandemic and the Second World War appear strong. Both were traumatic and transformative. As society emerged from crisis, people looked to governments to build a strong recovery. People today are also worried about what appears to be the accelerating impact of climate change. Systemic racism and Indigenous reconciliation are important issues.
The Conservatives have offered no clear plan for how they would have handled the pandemic – and will handle the recovery – differently. They are not a party associated with fighting climate change, combating racism or improving Indigenous relations. We do not live in Conservative times.
But Mr. Trudeau is not a terribly popular prime minister. A recent Abacus poll has about an equal number of people saying they have a positive or negative impression of him, and Mr. O’Toole is quite unpopular. The only national party leader with a positive approval rating is Mr. Singh.
All recent polls have the NDP sitting at around 20 per cent, well above the 16 per cent they garnered in the 2019 election. If that number holds, the NDP should pick up seats: in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, in Toronto, elsewhere in Ontario, maybe here and there in the Prairies.
Here’s something else: The accessible voter pool – those who might consider voting for a political party – is now higher for the NDP (48 per cent) than for the Conservatives (41 per cent).
That doesn’t mean there is going to be some Orange Crush, in which the NDP smashes through in B.C. and Ontario, scattering Liberal MPs and sending the Conservatives into third place, which the NDP under Jack Layton did to the Bloc and Liberals in 2011 in Quebec. But the NDP popular vote, combined with its accessible voter pool and Mr. Singh’s popularity, suggests the likelihood of gains.
This shouldn’t be all that surprising. In the 2019 election, Mr. Singh was unknown, he was out of his depth and the party was practically bankrupt. Today the NDP has paid off its debt and will be able to finance a respectable national campaign. Mr. Singh is a better-known, more confident and more experienced leader. (Globe & Mail)
Meanwhile, the Green Party and its associated fund are taking their battle with party leader Annamie Paul to court — ending a tentative truce between Paul and party executives just as a federal election call is expected within weeks.
The conflict between Paul and her party hit a crisis point in May when, during an escalation of violence in the Middle East, Paul issued a statement calling for a de-escalation and a return to dialogue.
Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin, who left the Green Party for the Liberals in June, called the statement “totally inadequate.” Her departure left the Greens with just two MPs. (CBC)