Jagmeet Singh on Tuesday said he feels secure under his leadership, while the NDP’s seat count is barely turning up after a pandemic election, where Canadians consistently rank him as the most popular party chief.
“I’m really here because I want to make a difference,” the NDP leader said in Vancouver on Tuesday morning.
Singh said the New Democrats would still get the job done in parliament, even if they were within a few seats of their 2019 tally, and despite talking about his campaign that Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could not be trusted.
The New Democrats had 24 seats in the House of Commons at the time of their dissolution and, while some close races are still being counted, they appear to have only got one or two seats as of Tuesday afternoon.
Singh said he was proud of his team and campaign, but was “disappointed” that many NDP candidates who failed to win their ride would not join him in Ottawa.
The performance was small compared to the 44-seat result of Singh’s predecessor Tom Mulcair in 2015, leading to a leadership review and Singh’s ascension in 2017.
Monday prompted some déj vu among New Democrats after a tough race in 2019, which saw the same seat count as the latest election. Singh was relatively new to the federal scene at the time, with only two years under his belt as the leader of a party that also faced financial hardship.
This time the NDP spent a lot of money, and Singh enjoyed name recognition across the country and continued a declared record of promoting pandemic relief. He has also been consistently found as the most liked leader in opinion polls, leveraging an outsized social media presence that is a mix of talking points and trap beats.
But it didn’t translate into ballots – “the only currency that matters,” said Carl Belanger, president of consulting firm Traxion Strategies and a former senior advisor to the NDP.
The NDP failed to make significant gains in key ridings in Quebec and downtown Toronto, and its share of the popular vote – 17.7 percent as of Tuesday evening – fell short of turnout estimates.
“You have lost some seats, you have gained some seats. So you’re spilling water. You need to do better. And the key to that is to get the people who say they will vote for you to actually vote for you,” Belanger said.
He said Singh’s place in the party was secure at least in the short term.
“I have full faith in Jagmeet,” NDP MP Taylor Bacharach said, citing his “incredible enthusiasm and positive spirit” during the campaign.
The NDP may be on the verge of defeat, which includes Toronto’s Davenport Riding, Montreal’s Laurier-Sainte-Marie, Berthier-Masquinong in rural Quebec, New Democrat-held Hamilton Mountain and downtown Toronto, Spadina-Fort. York, where the Liberal candidate was effectively removed from the party over the weekend.
“They can’t take it for granted,” said Sanjay Jerram, senior lecturer in political science at Simon Fraser University.
“If you are thinking about under what kind of circumstances the NDP can achieve its success under the leadership of Jagmeet Singh, that was it. And he didn’t draw it. “
The party won at least one new seat in Edmonton and continues to lead the previous Green Riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
Singh on Tuesday criticized Trudeau for holding the election during the pandemic, saying it seemed to lead to long lines, less access and ultimately less turnout at polling stations.
The New Democrats, as the fourth party, are back in a position to have some balancing power in supporting a minority government after a 36-day campaign that has focused largely on criticizing Trudeau, often in very personal terms. In.
Singh said there is no intention to force another election.
“We successfully used our position to win a really big win for the people of Canada for the people. They were better because we were there,” he said.
“We’ll do the same thing.”