Jagmeet Singh hasn’t been putting on a particularly stellar performance as the leader of the NDP. He doesn’t have a seat in parliament, his comments on important issues haven’t stood out and his brand is fading into irrelevance.
Singh, who is seen as detached and uninterested in the needs of Western constituents from his caucus is now facing a revolt in opinion among current and former NDP MPs in both Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Sexual harassment complaints have plagued parties across the political spectrum as of late, even the progressively minded NDP can’t get away from them. So when Saskatchewan MP Erin Weir was accused of and investigated for sexual harassment and misconduct, Singh’s decision to expel Mr. Weir from the caucus seemed like the reasonable thing to do in line with party principles. Yet there are a number of Saskatchewan MPs who defend Mr. Weir’s behavior to the detriment of the leader’s approval.
A letter spearheaded by former Saskatchewan Deputy Premier Pat Atkinson attacking Mr. Singh’s decision was signed by 67 former Saskatchewan NDP MPs.
“Successful leaders listen to people in the field, they listen to former politicians, they listen to party members, they listen. You just can’t have a little enclave of people,” said Atkinson.
On the decision not to allow Mr. Weir to run for election under the NDP banner, Jagmeet says his “decision is final”.
Tensions between the leadership and provincial party members have been rising since Jagmeet announced his opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion; a project which Alberta MP Rachel Notley supports.
While Jagmeet Singh’s relationship with his caucus deteriorates, party coffers are also plunging into the ground. Annual fundraising reports show that the NDP pulled in a little less than $5 million in the 2017 financial year. This is only a fraction of the double digits that both the Liberals and Tories are pulling in.
Jagmeet Singh’s leadership might possibly spell the ruin of the Federal NDPs and another lackluster election performance would ensure it.
The NDP caucus is meeting in Surrey B.C. today, yet even party strategist Robin MacLachlan is complaining about Mr. Singhs lack of vision. Seeing how the caucus meeting might unfold will be a good indication as to whether Mr. Singh has the leadership ability to mend a fractured party.
A recent survey has been sent out to NDP party members to rate the leader’s performance. Poor results would serve to further lower party moral. Nationally the NDP have been steadily declining in opinion polls, down four points from last year to a mere 16%, making it evident that the 2019 election will be a classic Conservative-Liberal rivalry.
As for now, if Mr. Singh’s handling of his own party’s affairs is any indication of how he would manage a federal government then voters should take it as a warning.