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At some point, enough has to be enough. New Democrats have tended to show more patience with underperforming leaders than either Liberals or Conservatives — witness Andrea Horwath’s string of underwhelming election results as leader of the Ontario provincial party — but even the most stalwart loyalist has to be wondering if Jagmeet Singh’s time as their federal leader is running out.

Yes, the confidence-and-supply agreement he struck with Justin Trudeau bought the NDP precious time to rebuild its finances and shore up its support, but instead he’s spent it vacillating between criticizing and coddling the Liberal government. In the process, he’s managed to combine the worst aspects of his two primary competitors, blending Pierre Poilievre’s know-nothing populism with Trudeau’s irrepressible attraction to performative symbolism.

He’s also scored a bunch of policy goals on his own net, ones that undermine his party’s appeal with the voters — young, urban and working class — he needs to attract and retain. His latest was a suggestion that homeowners facing rising mortgage payments need some sort of federal support or subsidy, an idea that was pilloried by some of Canada’s biggest housing policy wonks on both the left and the right. “We’re talking about what we can do right now to give people relief,” Singh said in a press conference. “There’s a lot of countries that are looking into real solutions to give people a bit of a break who are struggling with the cost of a mortgage. We wanna see those aggressive steps be taken here in Canada.”

Giving taxpayer money to homeowners who have benefited from the sharp increase in prices of late is definitely an aggressive step. But it’s one that’s pretty obviously going in the wrong direction, given the sort of behaviour it would reward and the moral hazard it could create. It would be a bad idea coming from the Conservative Party of Canada. But coming from the leader of the country’s supposed social democratic party, one that depends vitally on support from renters, new Canadians and non-homeowners, it’s the public policy equivalent of a cry for help — or a slap in the face.

It’s not the only one Singh has delivered of late. In another interview with Politico, he talked about how young lawyers like him could no longer afford to buy houses in Mississauga, as though the NDP’s stronghold was somehow rooted in the legal community. This is of a piece for the current iteration of the NDP in Ontario, whose leaders seem to think his party’s electoral strength lies among the urban professional crowd rather than the more traditional blue-collar and union member NDP base. It helps explain how Doug Ford ate Horwath’s lunch with those same voters in the last two provincial elections, and why Poilievre is so clearly targeting them right now.

If Singh was trying to shift his party’s support towards younger urban voters, his latest policy brainfart isn’t going to help. But then again, neither did his fascination with TikTok, where his now-suspended account seemed to form the basis for his youth outreach efforts in the 2021 election. The party’s own debrief of that campaign noted: “There was suggestion that Jagmeet’s notoriety on TikTok makes him appear ‘less serious,’ which needs to be addressed.”

At this point, letting him lead the party into the next election could be a suicide mission. Some models have the NDP winning fewer than 20 seats, and Singh’s ongoing play for more urban votes seems especially risky in an environment where the next election will be framed as an existential battle between Poilievre and Trudeau. With almost no seats left in Quebec and the possibility of losing even more in rural Ontario and B.C., the NDP might want to consider replacing its leader before the country does it for them.

No, Singh wouldn’t go without a fight. As he said in the Politico interview, “I've got lots of energy,” he said. “And I'm just getting better with time.” But time is something the federal NDP doesn’t have a lot of to spare, and his recent comments don’t exactly prove his point for him. Canada desperately needs a progressive party that speaks clearly and unapologetically to the interests of marginalized populations and the less fortunate, not one that tries to bail out indebted middle-class homeowners who have seen the value of their houses skyrocket in recent years. If Singh can’t see the problem here, maybe it’s time he made way for someone who can.

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Singh has been notoriously bad as NDP leader. I often cannot tell whether he truly doesn't know what levels of government do what, or if he is truly playing for the other team. Witness him on the healthcare file: he was telling PMJT to increase health transfers WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED!!! This in a landscape of Conservative Premiers who have privatization of the public health care system foremost in mind.
If he's now offering policies on mortgage payments, he must have suddenly realized that rent control is completely within the control of the provinces. That does present a genuine problem for the NDP as rent and rent controls are things that your average working class voter (and frankly, almost ALL voters under 30) care about deeply.

The fact that Singh, a lawyer and federal party leader who also served as an Ontario MPP for six years, *repeatedly* gets federal, provincial, and municipal jurisdictions and powers mixed up (or pretends to) is disqualifying, in my view. Canadians already get more than enough willful ignorance from right-wing parties; we don't need it across the full political spectrum.

he is far too mute on climate chaos to appeal to anyone under 40 not a brainwashed conservative in training.
If he want progressives to be enthused, he should be fight to end all fossil subsidies period, build electrified passenger rail, champion climate mitigation brigades / youth skills training cores in every province, tax corporate windfalls,.
minimum basic income should be talked about in every press conference not subsidizing mortgages.

on the other hand, would Trudeau have done any of the decent things we've gotten without Singh’s agreement? the two parties semi-coalition actually represents the will of the majority in canada!
wouldnt know it from mainstream press. you'd think pp repped the majority view! rather than the cruel, regressive rump.

I've wondered since the party chose Singh, who exactly led that coronation. Not that I have anything against him, but he'd never worked the federal system....and we overlooked amazing lifelong New Democrats like Charlie Angus and Niki Ashton to crown a relative newbie.

You can't entirely blame Singh....it did seem to me at the time that young identitarians thought someone from an ethnic minority would 'look good' for the NDP.......prove we weren't racist etc. etc., and perhaps bring in more of our ethnic minorities.

Whether or not that has happened, as hard as Singh tries, he seems to lack the fire we should feel in our bellies now. The planet is burning, and the conservatives seem to think a civil war over whether that's seriously real or not.........is the road to Power.

Someone needs to offer Canadians real solutions...and giving more subsidies to those already royally subsidized by the present economic regimes, isn't a road anywhere. Taxing the wealthy and building truly sustainable housing wouldn't be rocket science. Why isn't the NDP looking into 0 net housing, calling out the BS of 0 net oil production.....and sounding the alarm about the climate emergency??

I may have to pull my monthly pac: the people fighting Big Oil could use 50 bucks a month I'm pretty sure.

I really like and respect Niki Ashton, but I think she would make a terrible party leader. She's just too dashed earnest and virtuous, I just don't see her attracting votes or dealing effectively with opponents playing hardball. She'd be a great cabinet minister though. I'd be happy to see Charlie Angus as leader, though; in fact I voted for him in the leadership race Jagmeet won.

It's a pity about Jagmeet. He's a really sweet guy, but he just doesn't seem to work as leader of a national party. I could see him as a mayor.

As at the riding level, new candidates can bring in new "loyal" members (loyal to said identitarian "teams"), to the point of getting the most votes. This is particularly true in 1 member, 1 vote parties. But even where not the case, riding associations have been taken over as well.

The NDP has never had more power than they currently do in this lifesaving agreement with the Liberals, so why would they change anything?
Despite the unspoken concession that this auxiliary function is likely as good as it gets for them, it does also prove that the NDP actually IS in government for the people, so in that context I think Singh's continued willingness to support the Liberals speaks more loudly than anything else he does to be properly politically performative.

As an NDPer, I don't hear discontent with Singh from inside the party. MPs are chuffed about dental care and this is not an insignificant contribution to Healthcare. I'd like Singh to be stronger on climate and the environment. If not now -- when? There are ever growing cliimate-concerned folks looking for leadership and not seeing it.

Probably depends who one talks to ... and, I suppose, who talks to one.
Singh should get his climate policy advice from Elizabeth May.

As a party member too, I find it extremely frustrating that people don't see who it is who are pulling all the strings here!!! The individuals who need to go are the PARTY BRASS!!! The executive of the party - federally as well as provincially - MUST be turfed by the membership ASAP!!! They are entrenched in their sense of entitledness and preserving the status quo, which translates into maintaining their positions of power, not listening and acting on the input from the membership, and REFUSING to change anything. All this is massively exemplified in the debacle that disqualified Anjali Appadurai from the party leadership race in B. C., for example. The party as a whole is no longer the socialist left-leaning working peoples' alternative to the capitalist Libs and Cons. The coming convention in October provides another great opportunity IF members get busy and get organized!!!

I would agree on the need to put the party executive through the wash n dry cycle, but not on Appadurai. She was pushed into a position to become an instant premier expected to manage a 220 billion dollar economy purely through gaming the system, a form of political cynicism that is utterly distasteful.

Appadurai is a very capable, intelligent young person with no experience in government or opposition or regional economies. She would have done much better to refuse to become a figurehead for the apparatchiks scheming behind the scene and run again as a squeaky clean federal candidate in my riding. She would thus have the wind behind her to win over the Liberal and Conservative candidates, someone I would look forward to voting for.

Too bad. She's now tainted with the very cynical machinations of the BC NDP leadership coup attempt.

Forgive me, but what on earth makes you think that her leadership bid was "cynical'? Because to me, Eby seeking to have her disqualified (with the help of a former fossil fuel lobbyist of all things) despite the very real support behind her was abhorrently cynical, not to mention undemocratic.

And lest we forget, Eby is more and more showing himself to be a true heir to Horgan's gas-tainted throne.

Thank you, Gavin, for this "defence"! Having participated in Anjali's campaign and heard her account of the process which resulted in her decision to run, I can honestly say that those who have lost their sense of altruism can never understand her reasoning. From her day job she gained a ton of "ammunition" as well as popular support among like-mindeds, and these were the reasons she ran. As well, this wasn't her first rodeo. She was the NDP candidate in the Vancouver/Granville riding in the 2021 federal election. Just consider the huge increase in party membership during her campaign.
Thanks again.

I'm torn about this one. On one hand, I quite agree with the objectives of the people who were trying to push that leadership bid and I understand why they did it. On the other hand, it's apparently the case that the NDP had already a provision in their rules banning attempts by people from other parties to put in position a leader from another party by temporarily joining en masse and voting for them, which is what Eby invoked. And the fact is, that's exactly what she did. We don't mind because it was plucky Greens with an agenda we agree with, and we kind of feel like the NDP in essence ought to agree with it too and so this intervention was kind of an attempt to save them from themselves.

But what if the Liberals had tried to do the same thing, put in say Kevin Falcon at the head of the NDP by buying mass memberships for people who would vote for him? We would have seen it as utterly cynical and outrageous. And the Greens are still a distinct party from the NDP, technically just as distinct as the Liberals. I have to say it's not illegitimate for the NDP to resist being hijacked by them.

That said, I really, really wish the NDP under Eby would goddamn well can the LNG and get serious about old growth.

Your comment about Niki Ashton could be a metaphor for the NDP at this point.
All the commentary here seems to be from a "tribal NDP" perspective so very much misses the forest for the trees. The fact that Jagmeet signed this agreement AND has capitalized on it so effectively and quietly (especially under the tumultuous, hyperpartisan circumstances engineered by the cons) makes him not only the leader for the times (kind of what Elizabeth May has been shooting for) but without a doubt the best the party has ever had.
All this squabbling on the left is absolutely the narcissism of small differences, and I'd suggest that Jagmeet is a standout because he genuinely lacks narcissism.
Anyone who doesn't recognize that their guy and their party is truly having a moment here strikes me as part of the problem....

NO KIDDING!!! Which is why so many people signed up to support Anjali, as they were SO PISSED at the party for all the anti-sustainable policies it has promoted!! About people being members of the Green party and signing up to the B C NDP, Anjali's campaign definitely did NOT endorse this, nor could it police the people who might have done this. It falls into the category of trumped-up charges that the party execs used to disqualify her!
Let there NEVER be any compaarisons to the Libs - or whatever they're calling themselves these days!!!

Perspective please. Liberals aren't the enemy here, conservatives are. And since progressives are the natural majority in Canada, the only reason cons ever win is when the political left is divided and splits the vote.
And voting isn't just a form of personal expression. When one party doesn't even believe climate change is real but is still gaining enough traction to win government, it's a weighty responsibility that should be strategic and utilitarian to keep them out of power.

You nailed it. Kudos!

Political cynicism applies to all political hacker's acts of scheming, gaming and rule bending, no matter what their favoured party label is. Let's pretend Appadurai actually won and she was sworn in as the premier the next day with no experience in managing any large organization or a shadow cabinet position. The Dogwood schemers and Greens chopping and clawing away behind the door would have had instantaneous demands to make on a small number of files, likely with no care about the consequences. They were utterly dismissive of the genuine experience of cabinet members and senior bureaucrats; disagree with LNG and old growth logging all you like, but what the hell makes them think they have the knowledge to manage the largest ministry of all -- health care -- or transportation, or inter-provincial affairs, or human resources? The premier oversees it all, and with a successful coup you'd probably have ended up with a royal mess with neophytes screwing up all over.

Appadurai did NOT have a mandate from the people. In fact, if the coup worked, she'd have to face the wrath of the people in a byelection over her acquiescence to back door invasion tactics. She could have run prior for a riding candidacy fair and square under the rules and, once elected, spent time as an MLA learning the ropes and seeking change from within, and running for leadership after a few years building management and legal experience as a cabinet minister and affecting change through the process. If the party executive still had a problem with her even if she played by the rules, then shame on them.

My disappointment in her being willingly talked into gaming the system under the narrative that she is an "innocent activist" extends to the electoral system. After this episode, how on Earth are the BC NDP and Greens ever going to discuss joint rule again? The Greens already screwed it up federally with fake candidates and an immature attitude that prevents them from even talking on points of agreement with the NDP, let alone plunging headlong into internal infighting. Elizabeth May has a lot of integrity, as does Anjali Appadurai, but partisan politics seem to have them by the throat while they do not exhibit enough leadership skills to defeat the hubris and immaturity that backs them.

[This comment was supposed to be in reply to Rufus Polson.]

That's not fair Alex, she would have appointed a finance minister. Bring on the smart young women to take charge I say; they're our best hope.
I think it's a shame she didn't become leader, she would have been great, and speaking of hope, when was the last time there was so much genuine hope for the change that's actually needed?

@ Tris, to understand what actually happened you have to look at the people who were pushing Appadurai (with her blessing, it seems) into running for the top job in a province with NO experience. Dogwood alumni, Greens and other non-NDP activists appeared to be running a sword into the heart of a party they would usually never vote for over their rightful anger on Fairy Creek and LNG. You'd have a hard time convincing me and other enviro-NDPers that they were actually interested in governing instead of tearing down the NDP house.

It's a no brainer that the NDP has to reconcile with ecology, but smashing in the back door and jacking the system with fake memberships is not a valid way of accomplishing it. That tactic is very right wing. Appadurai could have said no and told them to find another Trojan Horse figurehead, then quietly polished her policy platform, published op-eds and give speeches, then run a second time as a federal NDP candidate in my riding with her reputation intact, where she came in a reasonably close Number Two to the Liberal candidate in the last election.

I don't know how Appadurai will overcome this hit to her integrity, but she's been awfully quiet for the past year. She needs to admit her mistake, apologize and offer a new legitimate political approach to the people who would have otherwise voted for her, like me.

On the affordable housing file the issue is dead simple: Build More Affordable Housing. Lots and lots of it. The feds must take the lead, preferably with provincial participation, but planned so as to do without if necessary. There should be a 10-year construction plan, not a list of aspirational targets and wishy washy goals.

And all the new housing must be rentals. Leave the market to its own devices. The mass of affordable rentals will not only fulfill a need but will eventually build up a critical mass and counterweight to an unstable market.

I've written several times before that new rentals could be in the form of the non-profit model where land costs are deducted (i.e. the land is donated by cities) and the break even construction, maintenance, depreciation and replacement reserve costs are amortized over long periods to ensure the monthly rental rates are well below the market, yet do not require ongoing subsidies. This will also ensure a steady revenue stream back to the CMHC to cover construction costs. Offering longer leases and stable, predictable rents will also ensure a critical body of stable renters will build over time. The Centre for Policy Alternatives proposed a similar model but backed by better economic analysis.

Non-profit rentals would be separate from subsidized housing and housing for special needs and the homeless.

Jagmeet Singh may be naive and / or has poor quality advice given to him by party members who should know better. The NDP is still a political party as subject to infighting, score settling and greed as any other. Political game playing sucks. That is why I remain unconvinced that merely changing a figurehead will result in a renewed party outlook and spirit without an inner house cleaning.

Singh's ethnicity is a non issue; all parties are multiethnic.

The conversation I believe is more important than anything else is the NDP approaching the next election with an agreement with the Liberals to form a coalition, possibly with time limit riders and guarantees to maintain each party's identity intact.

A Liberal Democratic coalition would have something like a 10-point policy strategy document providing sufficient detail for voters to chew on to fight climate, build affordable housing, pay down the national debt faster, propose electoral reform, etc. etc. etc., and with a realistic outline of how to finance it.

If myopic party partisanship continues to demean our political process, then the voters will continue to dish out minority governments as the next best thing to a center-left coalition ... or get so fed up they let Poilievre crash the gates and a hold a demolition derby.

I think Max's is column is wee bit too self indulgent. That being said the NDP is adrift and needs to decide where it
It's going and rethink it's role in the scheme of things. Like many I've long ago lost the thread. I also agree that many of the party apparatchniks need to move on but I am a big fan of Anne McGrath

I think Max's is column is wee bit too self indulgent. That being said the NDP is adrift and needs to decide where it's going and rethink it's role in the scheme of things. Like many I've long ago lost the thread. I also agree that many of the party apparatchniks need to move on but I am a big fan of Anne McGrath

Well, purism has never worked that well in politics. Ask the poorer Canadians if they reject denticare, you'll get a different opinion from Fawcett's. Alberta used Singh's position to bash Notley, and Notley said Singh doesn't understand Alberta. And for minority Canadians like myself, Singh's handling of the BLOC's thinly veiled racism was something to be proud of. He didn't make it about himself, but rather it's affect on young people of colour. Pretty off base Max.

Why not look at the Green party for an alternative? check their policy document for some good ideas.

More narcissism of small differences and vote splitters, so a threat ultimately.
They should fold in with the NDP who have found the solution to unite the left and save us all from the cons.

"They should fold in with the NDP who have found the solution to unite the left and save us all from the cons."

Well said.