Several senior members of the federal party NDP have warned NDP leader Jaiguet Singh in June that he will not be able to give up his post as party leader if he loses next month's election in the Bernabeu South.
Two new Democratic MPs who discussed PS News, provided they remain anonymous, were among a small group of members of the parliamentary group that met with Singh last summer to tell him that the loss in February 25 election would put enormous pressure on him to resign. They are among the group of nine NDP MPs who say PS News believe that Singh will have no choice but to resign if he does not win his seat next month.
"We told him to get in, since June, when he was thinking … that if you do this, it's all-in. It's not like you're hoping to win this job. You have to have it," he said one MP for PS News.
"It was understood. There may be some revisionist history that happens if it does not win."
A former senior NDP strategist agrees.
"It's obvious. If you lose your choice, if you can not win the People's Republic of Burnaby, where can you win?" said Carl Belanser, former NDP national director and former chief secretary of former leader Tom Mulchar.
"I think Mr Singh knows that, and I think he is trying to show everyone that he will win that place and then lead the party in the next election."
The meeting in June was held in a closed committee in the basement of the Hill Center's headquarters in the House of Commons House which was postponed for the summer break.
Gambling on "all-in"
Sources say on PS News that the NDP leader agreed to the meeting that running in the election would be "comprehensive" gambling. Singh, according to sources, said he was confident of the victory, that he believed he would be in his elementary campaign in the community.
"So if he fails at his best, in part of the country we should do well in – British Columbia in general and Vancouver in particular – I do not know what their argument is to stay Singh as a leader," a senior NDP lawmaker said.
Speaking about PS News on Friday, Singh gave up questions about what he could do if he lost the candidate for election, insisting he was in a good position to win.
"I'm not focused on myself and I know if we are working hard, we will win here," he said. "We will win in Burnaby South because people need us."
If Singh agrees privately that he can not stay if he fails to secure a place for commons next month, that would be contrary to his public attitude to the issue. In an interview with Rosemary Burton, aired on CBC National on January 20, Singh insisted that he would remain in office, even if he lost the vote on February 25.
"I will be the leader who leads the New Democracy Party in the 2019 elections," Singh said. "I am convinced that we will succeed in this drive. We are connecting with people, we get great support."
Total, PS and Radio-Canada contacted more than half of the 40 members of the NPD group. Not all members of the parliamentary group contacted by CBC News responded, but most of those who spoke to the PSC say they feel confident that Singh will win.
What will happen if he loses it?
Five refused to comment on what they call a "hypothetical" scenario. The two members of the group expressed their full support for Singh. Some say they believe that the decision to stay or to go to rest with him.
Members of committee members are not the only ones saying Singh must leave if he fails to remember Bernaby South. Some veterans who are not members of the New Democracy group's campaign group agree – although at least one suggests that Singing's departure may be the result of a messy process.
"Firstly, a group of party elders will advise the time to come. If it is opposed, then the MP's vote is non-binding, but humiliating," said the party strategist, who asked not to be named. "Then the vote by the Federal Council of the NDP.
"The choice of his time for giving gives him the benefit of good exit," the statement said.
The Liberals recently received Richard T. Lee, former BC MP, to run for horseback riding after their first candidate, Karen Wang, resigned over the controversial campaign post, demanding that the Chinese people vote for her as the "only" Chinese candidate.
PSC News has learned, however, that the NDP is working on various contingency plans that could come into force if Singh fails in Burnaby South.
Plans B, C and beyond
If, for example, Singh loses and immediately pulls aside as a leader, one option would be to hold a leadership match immediately, similar to the one who quickly teamed up in Ontario after Patrick Brown was forced to step down as Leader of the Progressive Conservative due to allegations of sexual harassment.
But the federal NDP is in a very different place now than Ontario's computer computers last year, when they held the leadership, which ended with the choice of Doug Ford as a replacement for Brown.
Provincial computers led to polls at that time; according to a PS poll poll survey, support for the federal NDP is only 14.2 percent nationwide. The Conservatives of Ontario gathered a huge military term from the time that Brown left and could easily pay for a convention. The Federal NDP, however, continues to struggle with raising funds.
Another option could see the group choose a temporary leader. In the circle of the NDP, two names are proposed as possible care leaders: B.C. MP Nathan Cullen and Quebec lawyer Guy Caron.
Each interim leader elected by a parliamentary group should be approved by the federal council before running the party in the general election, followed by a governing race – the only way in which a permanent leader can be elected according to party rules.
Some members of the group mapped what they saw as a voluntary exit for Singh: offered him the position of deputy leader and lieutenant colonel in Ontario and allowed him to run east of Brampton, an area he used to represent provincial. Singh can then re-run for the leadership of the party, reinforced politically, by securing a place in Commons.
Belenar said that if Singh lost to Burnaby South and then tried to give up his post as party leader, the only way to get rid of him is to be through the leadership.
But leadership criticism takes place in party conventions – and the NDP does not have a convention scheduled until the federal election falls. In order to initiate a managed review, a special convention should be convened. It can be called only by the NDP federal council or at the request of a majority of federal public associations.
A NDP strategist – who also asked not to be named – is skeptical about the special option for a convention: "Some of me have no faith in bringing these people to a knife in the fight.
"These people have the challenge of confronting the fact that this leader won the vast majority of votes from the membership of the first vote (in the leadership of the race), and then improved the vote in February 2018 with tremendous support from the whole membership in the enormous attendance of the convention here in Ottawa, when it received 92.8 per cent support. "
Getting ready for the worst
Former NDP MP and 2012 presidential nominee Peggy Nash said those working on a contingency plan to take effect if Singh lost his lives in Burnaby South just made it obvious.
"I want to play chess and I always think that several are moving forward and I always have spare plans. I would think it's just good sound management, so they want to have contingency plans for whatever happens," said Nash.
B.C. NDP MP Don Davis said he was confident that Singh would take him next month and that his presence in the House of Commons would strengthen his leadership. "I see that there are many benefits, including for our fundraising and our general polling numbers," he said. "I think everything will be better after Dzaget will be in the house.
"There was a lot of attention to what's happening if it does not win. I think the only fair result of it when it wins is that this speed should be rested."