The NDP is one of the three major political parties in Canada. Their new leadership race is finally drawing to a close after starting up all the way back in early 2016. This will catch you up to where we are now.
On October 19, 2015 New Democratic Party (NDP) won 44 seats under Tom Mulcair in the general election and falls to third place in the House of Commons, down from their previous 95 seats and their status as Official Opposition prior to this general election. Six months later on April 10, 2016, there was a call to have a leadership review and a new leadership election. Mulcair announced that he would not be running as a candidate, but would continue his position as leader until a successor was selected.
One month later, on May 15, 2016, it was decided that the election will be held between September 17, 2017 and October 31, 2017 with a more precise date to follow. The NDP had a fairly controversial requirement of candidates that saw them requiring a $30,000 entry fee to run in the leadership race. This saw, Cheri DiNovo launch her campaign as an unofficial candidate, although just one week later she did announce her campaign would become official. Two months after that she dropped out of the race, however it was still a notable statement from the party member. It wasn’t until February of this year that the campaigns began to launch.
It was this window of February to May 15 that candidates launched their campaigns. With withdrawals there are only four candidates remaining: Charlie Angus, Guy Caron, Niki Ashton and Jagmeet Singh.
Before the month of September, this may have been a rather short story, with Angus being the obvious outlier with years of experience and a strong lead in the polls from June to August. However, something spectacular happened. Singh was verbally attacked on stage and accused of attempting to impose Sharia law on Canada. While Singh is actually Sikh he never corrected her. Once she left the town hall meeting after being met with chants of “We love you, we support you, and we care for you.” Singh had this to say to the crowd.
“You know growing up as a brown-skin, turbaned, bearded man that I’ve faced things like this before. There’s going to be other obstacles that we’re going to face and we’re going to face them with love and courage.”
When asked by many as to why he never corrected her statement that his ‘Muslim Brotherhood was attempting to enact Sharia law’ he responded by saying “while I’m proud of who I am, I purposefully didn’t go down that road because it suggests their hate would be ok if I was Muslim.”
With that viral video taking off into every corner of social media displaying Singh’s words of inclusion, many have begun to support his campaign.
In the August opinion poll for NDP members, Singh was in fourth place with a total of 13.6 per cent with a ± of 1.8 per cent, Angus had the lead with a massive 41 per cent. Whereas, September, Singh has jumped up to 27.3 per cent and Angus has dropped to 25 per cent. This surge in popularity is what some are referring to as Singh’s “boxing match”.
To elaborate, in 2012 while there were rumours that Trudeau may want to run for election and was planning on running for leader of the Liberal party some had trouble buying Trudeau’s campaign. For some, he just wasn’t masculine enough, according to some news outlets. This was until he defeated Patrick Brazeau in their charity boxing match before the fight. He was grossly expected to lose the fight, yet managed to come out on top.
With Singh having announced his campaign last out of the remaining contestants and trailing in almost every poll he was certainly an underdog, until hate from a source ignorant of his religion gave him a platform to promote his message. Should Singh win this election he will be the first member of the Sikh community to be the elected leader of a federal political group as well as a person of colour to lead a federal political group.