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Mon 2nd Oct 2017
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New Democrats gathered in Toronto yesterday afternoon to watch what was anticipated to be one of many ballot announcements. However, Ontario NDP MPP and Deputy Leader Jagmeet Singh won 54% of ballots casted – winning on the first round.

Jagmeet Singh has represented the riding of Bramalea—Gore—Malton in Toronto’s northwest 905 since 2011. He will be taking over the party reigns from Quebec MP Tom Mulcair who experienced the greatest vote of non-confidence by a political party in not only NDP history but in Canadian political history. 52% of NDP delegates at the 2016 NDP convention in Edmonton chose to have another leader replace Mulciar.

Considering Mulcair was ushered out by over half of members and Singh was ushered in by half of members, the NDP base made two strong statements for change.

Mr. Singh will have his work cut out for him: the NDP has consistently come third in the polls with only about three-in-twenty voters willing to cast their ballot for the party. Prime Minister Trudeau has maintained a commanding lead over the other two parties since he assumed office in 2015. One of the primary reasons why Trudeau has been able to ride the wave of public opinion like he has is due to the fact that there was no distinctive or notable opposition.

The Conservative Party has a firm understanding of who their voters are, what matters to them and how they can be reached. While they understand that the party cannot win elections in the future if the tent does not grow, their main electoral strategy is built around motivating the base to turn out and vote – not to win over new segments of the electorate. Andrew Scheer checked enough boxes with the Tory base to be everyone’s second choice making him the conservative “Goldilocks” or “just right” candidate.

The Liberals and NDP on the other hand are competing for the same segment of the electorate: centre-left progressive voters. Jagmeet Singh has the charisma and capabilities to go toe-to-toe with Trudeau on progressive and social justice issues that resonate with their shared electorates. With no seats east of Quebec, the NDP have to make serious inroads on the East Coast and focus on issues that affect the Maritimes. However, Jagmeet has very good probability of growing the NDP brand at the expense of Trudeau’s Liberals in the voter rich and ethnically diverse 905 region of Toronto.

Rachel Notley and the NDP in Alberta do not enjoy the popularity they once did, however, their infrastructure and position in government allows Jagmeet to connect with NDP supporters and operatives in a region dominated by conservatives. BC Premier John Horgan is the second most approved of Premier in Canada enjoying a 48% approval rating – coming second only to Brad Wall at 49% approval rating (his lowest ever) and may be a useful asset in assisting Jagmeet’s West Coast operations and outreach.

Polling from Abacus Data in the lead up to yesterday’s results showed that Canadians were more likely to see the NDP as “old fashioned” as opposed to the Liberals who are seen as “young at heart”. This may all change, however, with Jagmeet Singh’s charisma, focus on social issues and ability to connect with people – more specifically younger Canadians. Trudeau is now officially the oldest of the three major party leaders and will very likely experience competition over a segment of the electorate he may have previously thought he had a monopoly on.