In the midst of the sad commentary about the Edmonton terrorist incident -“diversity is our strength”, “beat terror with unity”, “lone wolf nothing to do with Islam” – I was cheered to see the rollover victory of Jagmeet Singh for the NDP leadership. Singh seems to be from the pragmatic end of the NDP and will be relatively immune from identitarian and intersectional attack simply because he’s brown and wears brilliant turbans. He’s intelligent, well spoken and has a bit of charisma. And he is just going to kill Justin Trudeau in places Trudeau needs to win.
It is simplistic to say that the Sikh community in Canada will universally support one of its own, there will certainly be a temptation to defect from Trudeau to Singh. While that might have some effect in Tory ridings, it will be felt most strongly in seats which have traditionally swung from Liberal to New Democrat and back again.
I am not sure, however, that Singh’s ethnicity is his biggest threat to Trudeau. By 2019 the emptiness of much of the Liberal’s program will be apparent to all. The broken promises, the tepid policy initiatives and, above all, the fiscal incompetence on the revenue side and on expenditures will be pretty apparent. For small business owners and consumers with half a clue, the combination of the lunatic small business tax measures and the expensive, but pointless, carbon tax will pour votes into the Conservative column. But with Canada’s first past the post system, that may not be enough.
Singh’s real threat to Trudeau is in marginal seats where the Libs beat the Conservatives by a few thousand votes in the last election because a) people had had enough of Harper, b) Justin seemed bright and shiny. People who would have voted NDP in the past were so eager to get rid of Harper they voted for Trudeau. Mulclair simply lacked the appeal to keep the faithful in the pews. At a guess, the rank and file NDP voters, as well as the multi-culti virtue signallers, will be much more inclined to give Singh a go. Which means he has the capacity to bleed off Liberal voters in significant numbers.
Getting rid of Trudeau and his gender balanced gang of incompetents was never going to happen as the result of a surge of support for that guy leading the Conservatives. The Tories will be lucky to see a 3-5% increase in their popular vote as people realize that the Liberals are committed to gutting what’s left of the productive sectors of the Canadian economy in the name of “fairness”, “climate change” and “diversity”. For Trudeau to lose he has to actually lose the votes of people who supported him last election. If the NDP had gone with the po-faced, ideologically pure, Niki Ashton or the “makes that Andrew Scheer guy looks exciting” Charlie Angus, Trudeau would be home and dry. Singh is an actual threat.
One other thing: Singh took the leadership. He was aggressive, he sold memberships, he raised money. He ran as an outsider and he won. On the first ballot. This is deeply impressive. Not like the NDP at all.