The Toronto Star has run a lengthy post-mortem on the NDP campaign for the election just ended. Despite having a campaign budget double that of the 2019 campaign, Jagmeet Singh’s NDP managed to gain only one seat to 25. This is the party that dumped leader Thomas Mulcair after the 2015 election because he could only manage 44 seats, in the mistaken belief that the 103 seats the party achieved under Jack Layton was a new floor for NDP support. The fact is, that as sunny a campaigner as Jack Layton was, his seat total was almost entirely due to a catastrophic collapse in Liberal support under the enigmatic Michael Ignatieff. Liberal share of the popular vote plummeted to 19 percent, mainly because Quebec voters deserted the Liberals and parked their vote with the NDP. The 2015 election with a fresh new Liberal leader in Justin Trudeau brought back a return to normalcy—across Canada and in Quebec.
Singh’s idea of making the ultra-rich pay was one that should have resonated with Canadians, but was hampered by being less clear on how much revenue that plan would generate. The Parliamentary Budget Office admitted to some uncertainty on Singh’s revenue projections, which even if correct, fell $48 billion short of what he was planning to spend. That made Singh no worse than Justin Trudeau, who never discussed balancing the budget during the campaign, but, for Canadian voters, it appeared to come down to the devil you know.
NDP slipped again in Hamilton
Somewhat surprising was the result in Hamilton where the NDP were reduced to a single seat—that of Matthew Green in Hamilton Centre, which has gone NDP through six elections. Hamilton was widely seen as a federal NDP stronghold as recently as 2011 when the party held three of the city’s five ridings. The NDP vote in Hamilton dropped by about 9 percent from the 2019 election. Green aside, three of the NDP candidates running in Hamilton ridings were parachuted in from elsewhere, again something of a surprise in what is regarded as a labour city, where one would have expected no shortage of locals vying for the nominations.