Federal and provincial NDP facing challenge to appeal to voters


WATCH: 16 months after his election as leader of the federal NDP party, Jagmeet Singh will finally take his seat in the House of Commons. Last night, Singh won a closely fought by-election in the riding of Burnaby South. But the party’s national fortunes are fading, and only there are only two provinces with NDP governments. As Mary Griffin reports, the question is how does the party turn things around?

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh dances his way into the history books after his by-election win in Burnaby South Thursday night at his campaign headquarters.

“When I was growing up, I could never have imagined someone like me ever running Ministerime MInister. But guess what? We just told a lot of kids out there that, yes. You can,” Singh told a crowd of supporters.

And B.C. politicians shared in the victory, including Ravi Kahlon, MLA for Delta North, who campaigned with Singh.

“Jagmeet was on message. He was talking about the issues that matter to people in the community. And so it resonated with the voters. So clearly the results speak for themselves,” Kahlon said.

“He’s going to be fantastic. I couldn’t be prouder of the campaign he ran in Burnaby South,” B.C.’s Health Minister Adrian Dix reflected on Singh’s victory.

“It reflects the person he is, and I think he’s going to do a great job in Ottawa.”

Now Singh will finally be able to take a seat in the House of Commons, 16 months after becoming leader. But it wasn’t all good news for the NDP.

The party lost former leader Tom MulCair’s seat in the Montreal riding of Outremont losing to Liberal Rachel Bendayan.

But Royal Road’s political scientist David Black said the party is struggling.

“I think this is a moment of truth for the federal party. They are really at a low ebb. They are polling about 15 percent with respect to the national opinion polls. That’s as bad as it’s been in twenty years,” Black said.

Black said the B.C. and Alberta are the only two provinces with NDP governments. B.C is two years away from an election, but Rachel Notley is likely facing an uphill battle when Albertans head to the polls later this year.

“They have to persuade the Canadian public broadly, that they are a force to be reckoned with. They are a source of policy ideas. And they are a viable party capable of governing,” Black said.

Singh has eight months, until the next federal election on October 21st, to convince Canadians he’s capable of running the country.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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