VIDEO: NDP launches charm offensive with Jagmeet Singh as it kicks off leader’s tour

One of Singh’s goals is to unlock the party’s potential in suburban ridings around Toronto,Vancouver

The NDP is trying to boost the profile of its new leader Jagmeet Singh, launching an introductory tour in Ottawa on Sunday that is expected to take the party’s new leader into every province and territory before a policy convention in February.

One of Singh’s main goals is to unlock the party’s potential in suburban ridings around Toronto and Vancouver — a growth plan that could represent a significant shift for the party that has not been witnessed since it made a historic breakthrough in Quebec, said former NDP national director Karl Belanger.

“I am talking about a geopolitical shift in the NDP universe on a scale that was seen in 2011 when the Orange Wave was created by Jack Layton and the NDP,” he said in an interview.

“Those areas are, in this country, key to form government and that’s what Jagmeet’s leadership brings to the table and it does have some Liberal organizers worried.”

There are no guarantees, however, that Singh can deliver in competitive suburban ridings, noting the party must also stay connected with supporters in Quebec, where it has 16 seats.

“The realities of these voters are quite different than those from the 905 and the greater Vancouver area,” he said.

READ MORE: Jagmeet Singh chosen as new leader of federal NDP

READ MORE: Majority of Canadians open to a Sikh Prime Minister, but three-in-ten aren’t

“In that sense, it will be a challenge for the NDP to be able to connect with both pools of voters. That’s a big challenge. If you are unable to make the inroads in the region you are seeking as growth … but at the same time you lose the base that you have, you don’t end up with very much at the end.”

NDP strategist Robin MacLachlan, also the vice-president of the public affairs firm Summa Strategies, said it will be key for Singh and the party to visit the province early and often.

Singh and his parliamentary leader Guy Caron recently paid a visit to the Quebec riding of Lac-Saint-Jean, where a byelection will be held on Oct. 23 — a competition sparked by the departure of Conservative MP Denis Lebel.

MacLachlan said the campaign-style national leader’s tour in the weeks ahead will allow the party to tap into Singh’s strengths.

“Jagmeet’s greatest challenge is of course his greatest opportunity: a great many Canadians haven’t had the chance to get to know him yet,” he said.

“That’s not surprising for a new federal leader but it is an incredible opportunity.”

The more people get to know Singh, the more they like him, MacLachlan said, noting this was evident throughout the NDP leadership race and in the recent stop in Lac-Saint-Jean.

Singh is not a “quick fix” leader, he added, pointing to the organizational abilities that his team demonstrated during his leadership campaign through fundraising and signing up new members to the party.

“You are going to see him and his team bring that same energy to the NDP,” he said.

“It is badly needed. The organization has been in a rut since the last election … it needs that rejuvenation, it needs the new tools and energy that comes from a team like Jagmeet’s.”

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Free Family Day fun for Greater Trail

Public skating in Rossland and Trail are a few of the free offerings for families this weekend

Province announces $23 million for upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board has yet to review the provincial proposal

Rossland library gets rave reviews on renovation

A lot of hard work led to this day, says a library board member

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Do you stay in town or leave for holidays like Family Day?

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

East Kootenay illicit drug overdose deaths lowest in B.C.

Local expert credits harm reduction efforts; declares support for legalization of opioids

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read