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Friday, October 22, 2021

Singh says NDP campaign review launched to address wins, losses

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OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh caught up with his newly elected caucus of MPs on Wednesday, informing them he’s launched an election campaign review to pinpoint the party’s successes and failures.

Singh said he’s “proud” of the work of his teammates through the 36-day campaign, which saw the NDP pick up one additional seat, bringing their representation in the House of Commons to 25.

“We ran a tough campaign, we fought hard. I’m proud of our newly elected MPs, and I’m proud of the campaign we ran. But we’re obviously disappointed as well. There were seats that we were so close to winning, where there would have been incredible new MPs that would have been around this table with us,” he said.

“So we’ve got to figure that out.”

Singh said the campaign review will be led by Bob Dewar, a veteran NDP political strategist. Others taking part in the review are Quebec-based strategist Raymond Guardia, NDP president Dhananjai Kohli and vice-president and former MP Rosane Doré Lefebvre.

Singh welcomed new faces to the party, including Blake Desjarlais, a Métis NDP MP-elect for Edmonton Griesbach, Nanaimo—Ladysmith’s Lisa Marie Barron, and Nunavut’s Lori Idlout.

He also addressed the incumbents in the room, noting “for the first time in a decade, every single incumbent who ran again, won.”

Heading into a minority government scenario, the NDP leader said the party’s focus remains the same: “how do we make this Parliament work for people.”

Singh reinstated some of his campaign pitches – paid sick leave, universal child care, affordable housing, action on climate change, and Indigenous reconciliation – as priority issues to press the Liberals on going forward.

“It’s going to make our job even more important to make sure they know they can count on us. Maybe there’s no one else there but there’s certainly us, we’ll be there to fight, to make sure their voices are heard,” Singh said.

In terms of Singh’s performance and the fate of his leadership, former senior NDP adviser Karl Bélanger says he shouldn’t be worried.

“I don’t think there is much appetite for a leadership change within the NDP at this time. It was the only party to increase its popular vote from the last election,” he said in a statement to CTVNews.ca.

“If Singh was able to stay on easily after losing 20 seats in 2019, it is hard to make a case to oust him now, after he grew his party in votes and seat count.”

The NDP held votes Wednesday to determine whether they would adopt provisions laid out in the Reform Act to govern caucus, one of which would give MPs the ability to review and remove the leader and elect an interim replacement.

According to Singh’s director of communications Melanie Richer, caucus voted against that provision and instead will follow existing practises under the constitution. As such, at the next party convention, a secret ballot vote would be held to determine whether or not a leadership election should be called. If 50 per cent plus one delegate supports calling a leadership election, it would be held within one year of the vote.

Re-elected Edmonton MP Heather McPherson said while there’s a shared sense of “disappointment” more NDP MPs weren’t elected, she’s ready to get back to work.

“I want to see that we’re going to continue to keep pushing for those things that are important to all New Democrats and I think most Canadians,” she said, walking into the meeting.

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