The NDP is working to capitalize on Leader Jagmeet Singh’s social-media savvy in the final stretch of the campaign with plans to feature him in the video game Animal Crossing, on streaming service Twitch and by even projecting his image on the side of buildings in Toronto.
Party officials are also preparing to push back on the usual late-campaign efforts by the Liberals aimed at persuading NDP supporters to switch their vote to block the Conservatives from winning.
These details were shared with media on Wednesday afternoon, when NDP strategists outlined how the party is working to expand its voter base ahead of election day on Sept. 20. They are also releasing an election-themed feature on SnapChat, a messaging app through which the party connects with mostly younger Canadians.
The party’s social-media strategy is just one part of how the NDP plans to engage voters over the next week and a half of the campaign. Mr. Singh has also been emphasizing what he calls the costs and disappointments of a Liberal government, and working to distinguish himself from Justin Trudeau.
However, the challenge will be to make these efforts translate into votes for the party and ultimately seats won in the House of Commons. The NDP took only 24 seats in the 2019 election, leaving it in fourth place behind the Liberals, Conservatives and Bloc Québécois.
Mr. Singh has said he sees this election as different than 2019 because the party under his leadership now has a track record of getting things done in the House of Commons. In addition to using social media to introduce young voters to Mr. Singh, the party is also focused on voter education because it’s aware that many of its online followers may not be familiar with the process.
Despite Elections Canada cancelling on-campus voting this election, Mr. Singh has said he feels confident young voters will come out to the polls for the party.
Brad Lavigne, a former NDP campaign director for Jack Layton, said people do respond well to Mr. Singh, but the challenge is making sure the party mobilizes people and gets out the vote.
“There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity for Jagmeet Singh and the NDP in this campaign,” he said. “To close that deal, he’s got to increase the volume and the urgency of what’s at stake in this election.”
Mr. Lavigne said the party needs to focus on narrowing the gap between the NDP and the front-runner Conservatives and Liberals. “How do you close those 10 points? Prosecute the incumbent, and then articulate, clearly, why you deserve the vote over your opponent,” he said.
In the final days of the campaign, the party will be working to shore up its support mostly in Ontario and British Columbia. The party is spending about $25-million on the campaign, which is letting it do more physical travel to different parts of the country and increase its advertising reach.
Anne McGrath, the party’s national director, told The Globe and Mail this summer that the party will spend more than $10.5-million on advertising alone, which was about the cost of the entire 2019 campaign.
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