Jagmeet Singh is young, charismatic and the first member of a visible minority to lead a major federal political party. But his first few months as NDP leader have shown just how difficult it will be for Singh to steal votes back from Justin Trudeau. For one thing, the Liberals have shifted to the left, seizing a significant amount of the political spectrum normally held by the NDP.
It won’t be easy for Singh to find policies that aren’t already being advanced by Trudeau or don’t sound too extreme, like his proposal to decriminalize all drugs. The Liberals are also making inroads in Quebec, which became the NDP’s new base in 2011, but where voters are much less likely to vote for Singh than for Jack Layton or Tom Mulcair.
Singh is also relatively new to politics and leadership, something that showed during the recent by-election campaigns. Instead of being a threat to Trudeau and someone who, indirectly, could help Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives by taking votes from the Liberals, Singh is off to a slow start. He’ll have to improve a lot before he becomes a real force in Canadian politics.