Jagmeet Singh said he’s confident that he will stay on as leader of the NDP, despite failing to make major seat gains in Monday’s election.
At a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Tuesday morning, Mr. Singh said he feels secure in his leadership, and that he still has the party’s support. He said the NDP ran a campaign that its members are proud of.
“I feel really confident about that,” he said, adding that he wants Canadians to know the NDP will continue to fight for them in Parliament.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the NDP was leading or elected in 25 ridings. This would mean a gain of only one seat over the party’s total in the last Parliament. The NDP would remain in fourth place in the House of Commons.
Ahead of the NDP would be the Liberals, who were leading or elected in 158 ridings; the Conservatives, with 119; and the Bloc Québécois, with 34. The Greens were elected in two ridings.
Mr. Singh said that although he was happy to see a number of NDP MPs elected, he’s disappointed that so many of his party’s candidates will not be joining them in Ottawa. “It’s a loss not just for me as a leader, not just for New Democrats as a team, but it’s a loss for Canada,” he said.
A reporter asked Mr. Singh about what would happen if the NDP held the balance of power in the new minority Parliament. Earlier this week, Mr. Singh had said that his party’s proposed wealth tax would be his No. 1 priority in a minority situation. On Tuesday, he once again said the wealthy should help pay for the government’s pandemic response. He added that bolstering Canada’s health care system is a key issue for the NDP.
The NDP was on the offensive in the last stretch of the campaign, visiting ridings the party thought it might be able to pick up in Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Nova Scotia. In the end, however, nearly all the seats the party won were ones it held going into the election. The NDP lost St. John’s East, formerly its only riding in Atlantic Canada.
The party did gain two new ridings: Bonita Zarrillo won in Port Moody-Coquitlam in B.C., and Blake Desjarlais took Edmonton-Griesbach in Alberta. Both seats were previously held by Conservatives. And the NDP held onto Nunavut, where Lori Idlout was elected after Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, the NDP MP who had represented the territory since 2019, didn’t run for re-election.
Mr. Singh ran a campaign that combined messages about positive change with attacks on the Liberal government. Monday’s election was his second as party leader.
This election was the first time in a decade that the NDP increased its seat total over the previous parliament. The last time was in 2011, when it achieved Official Opposition status with 103 seats under former leader Jack Layton. The NDP won 44 seats in 2015 under former leader Tom Mulcair, and Mr. Singh won 24 in 2019.
Karl Bélanger, who has held several senior positions with the NDP, including national director, said he believes the party will continue to support Mr. Singh’s leadership. Polls showed Mr. Singh was personally popular with voters ahead of this election, and the NDP’s share of the vote increased compared with 2019.
“I think those are indicators that will be seen as positive progress by New Democrats,” said Mr. Bélanger, who is now a political commentator and president of Traxxion Stratégies. “They will certainly give him another shot.”
With a report from Bill Curry
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