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Jagmet Singh and NDP look to change the narrative in 2019



OTTAVA – The leader of the New Democratic Party speaks of fear and insecurity.

It is not his, your mind; nor his party. Sitting on the couch in the cabinet of his parliament, Jagmet Singh is in the usual high spirits, and his ebulance is so far a well-known feature.

It's almost enough to mask the pallor of his talking points. Singh exposes the case that, behind pink economic statistics held by Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Government, "the right people, true Canadians" are struggling.

Take a look at the exclusion of General Motors in Oshawa, he says. Hundreds laid off in Cape Breton. Workers protested for a drop in wages at the Montreal airport. At the height of the election year, "this insecurity, this fear" penetrates Canada to Trudeau, says Singh. People are worried about the uncertain work, the cost of living, the looming climate change – and the NDP is here to alleviate that fear.

"The reality is that for everyday people things are not going well," Singh told a star early, one evening in December.

"Our mission is to make sure we stand up for those people who do not feel there is someone in their corner."

Singh may know something about the ropes.

For more than a year since his dominant campaign to win the NDP's federal leadership, Singh has – with his own recognition – some "political ups and downs". The increase in funds swept through the days when the Democrats were the official opposition in Ottawa. The parade of lawmakers decided to overcome the federal election in 2019, including veterans from the NDP's front bench (although Singh points out that at least one former parliamentarian is competing for a return, Andrew Cash from Toronto). Through all of this, Singh was forced to calm controversy as a furor last spring because of his presence at the Sikh separatist events and allegations of improper conduct against two of his deputies.

Now Singh is trying to turn the page into everything in the new year, when the NDP leader has no one but two important calendar choices.

First, at some point in February, Singh will get a chance to enter the House of Commons for the first time. Former Ontario MPP from Brampton never had a federal seat. But in the search for a vacant job, the NDP leader decided in August to move to British Columbia to be able to run in Burnaby South, riding held by New Democracy Kennedy Stewart until he resigned to run for a successful run mayor of Vancouver.

If everyone goes well for Singh in Burnaby – and a poll conducted this autumn suggests that driving is by no means a lock for him – Singh will then turn to a major battle: the general election scheduled for October.

Farooq Karim, a former NDP press secretary campaigning with Québec lawmaker Guy Caron in the leadership of the NDP leadership in 2017, said there was no doubt that Singh and his party were in a recession. The party was brutally defeated in each of the eight affairs that took place after Singh became the leader, publishing a smaller percentage of the total votes of each match compared to the general election in 2015.

Singh himself suffered a NDP salary, while the party struggled to fund it. Donations fell to less than $ 5 million in 2017 from $ 18.6 million in 2015, according to submissions with Canada's election. Quarterly reports so far in 2018 do not look better.

Meanwhile, the party's position in the national elections is stuck in third place, much behind Liberals and Conservatives, not so far ahead of Elisabeth May and the Green Party.

The NDP challenge, Karim said, is to make the case of voters on the progressive side of the spectrum that the Trudo Liberal government failed to meet its priorities. It could be difficult, as the liberals still govern their first term of office. The vote for change is how to try to convince the family to buy a new household appliance after only a few years, he said.

"It's easier to make a case that there are" production defects, "Karim said.

Karim hears this when Singh attacks the Liberals to nationalize the Trans-Mountain Gas Pipeline, a $ 4.5 billion purchase, which NDP claims will undermine Canada's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Accord. The party also launches a new rhetoric about how the NPF is "on your side", a message Karim said should emphasize the party's traditional association with the rights of trade unions and workers, as opposed to the Liberal Government that has adopted legislation for coercing Canada Set up get them back to work.

At the same time, some argue that the political field has shifted to the prevalence of populist nationalism in Europe and the United States. Frank Graves, president of ECOS research associates, said the same forces that drive people to anti-elitist rhetoric by Donald Trump could be the main factor in Canada's 2019 election.

It could represent another opportunity for the NDP, if it can position itself as a champion of those who feel left out of the wider economic success by following policies such as the more aggressive taxation of the wealthy, Graves said.

In fact, Singh has already presented a set of proposals for closing tax holes for corporate leaders and preventing the rich from hiding their money, but leftist critics such as Avi Lewis – coauthor of the environmental and social democratic debate, the Manifesto for a jump – are urging them to sharpened his demands with attention-grabbing proposals as "free transit for all".

"One of the answers might be to touch this populist vein," Graves said. "(Singh) can definitely be a magnet for people who find it exciting to hear these things spoken in a more direct way."

Aside from political strategies, Singh's first hurdle is February's election in Burnaby South. For Karim, the victory is the only way to trigger a brighter 2019 for the Social Democratic Party – or question Singh's question.

"People are calculating the NDP, so there is a lot of room for people to surprise in 2019," he said.

"And people love children's story".

Alex Ballinggale is a reporter based in Ottawa, which covers national politics. Follow it on Twitter: @aballinga


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