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

Lebrun to take aim at provincial biathlon competition

Cadet Kaitlin Lebrun of Williams Lake shot her rifle and skied to a gold medal.

Gymnastics club sends largest contingent in recent years to PG meet

Williams Lake gymnasts saw strong representation at the Prince George Judges Cup Jan. 13-14.

Beekeeping info sesson to take place Tuesday

“They’re a pretty unique little creature. They are lovely and it’s a really lovely pastime”

Annual allowable cut does not need to change, according to report

Only a 24-month window available for salvage logging burned wood

Family fun day at Bull Mountain attracts skiers young and old

Skiers of all different ability levels and experience headed to the hill Saturday morning

BEHIND THE SCENES: Musicians create score for Studio Theatre production

Pulling back the curtain of lakecity arts and culture

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Most Read