The votes have been counted, and while lukewarm for most, they certainly don’t look great for the New Democrat Party(NDP). The Liberals held onto the government, the Conservatives won the popular vote, and both the Bloc and the Green party increased their number of seats.
In Quebec, the previous home to the massive 2011 Orange wave, only Alexandre Boulerice returned to the house of commons as an NDP MP.
Everyone else, including Ruth Ellen Brosseau, lost their seats.
To secure that pitiful share of the vote, Singh leveraged the NDP, running a crusade the party could not afford. Today, the Layton building remains re-mortgaged, and the party’s coffers appear destitute.
While some NDP partisans have been quick to celebrate their defeat blindly, the truth of 2019 is that the Layton wave is now gone.
In its place, the party has mostly become a BC and Ontario based organization, with nearly all of the NDP’s MPs hailing from those two regions.
Based on the campaign the NDP ran, its no wonder those are the results.
The party opposed the Trans Mountain pipeline arguing the environmental damage would be too much while supporting projects like the BC LNG.
The LNG project they support has been described as a ‘carbon bomb,’ by some.
The argument for supporting the plan comes from the idea that it is a safer and cleaner alternative to the coal energy used in China.
While true, this idea follows the same train of thought behind building a pipeline.
With all things considered, a pipeline will be cheaper and safer than conventional rail, according to a report from the Fraser Institute.
Due to Canada’s carbon tax, efficiencies gained here would be used to help deal with the problems of climate change.
This bizarre opposition to one “dirty” project while remaining open to another, lacked certainty and perhaps worse of all appear to show Singh’s campaign as both hypocritical and unready to lead a federal nation.
Of course, Trans Mountain and LNG were just a portion of the problem.
For a party like the NDP, the biggest failure came from the campaign’s inability to stake out strong positions even on policies such as bill 21, where they stood to gain from in every respect.
Here they allowed for an almost cartoon-like moment to occur during Canada’s only English debate to feature all major party leaders, where Trudeau days after a multi-part blackface scandal as able to look like the defender of Canada’s minority rights.
No wonder seats fell by the wayside in Quebec and failed to materialize in minority-dominated areas across the country.
While relegated to a portion of their previous base, the NDP still has a potential path to victory. It just won’t be easy.
Under Mulcair and then Singh, the party failed to repeat 2011, yet they remain Canada’s third party, and by extension, the progressive rival to the Liberals, a feat the Greens failed to pull from Singh’s hands.
With the Liberals providing an array of failed progressive promises such as electoral reform or their continued willingness to provide extra attention to Quebec, the NDP could have a way to strip Liberal voters, especially if Elizabeth May’s replacement turns into a dud.
That path just won’t be like 2011, and after two failed attempts, perhaps its best that dream was allowed to die, especially with Singh as the leader. Instead, the party will have to focus on building a new movement that places it as a deceive and distinct progressive alternative for working-class Canadians.
That path just won’t be like 2011, and after two failed attempts, perhaps its best that dream was allowed to die, especially with Singh as the leader, instead, the party will have to focus on building a new movement that places it as a deceive and distinct progressive alternative for working-class Canadians.
That means having a clear campaign that manages to bring together the BC and Ontario core and expands on it through clear and direct policy put through from day one, something isn’t a hodgepodge of random ideas, but rather a clear vision for Canada that can be decisively described as all NDP.
While the party failed to materialize on their dreams in 2019, Singh will likely get another chance to lead his party in the following election.
Hopefully, he takes the chance and rebuilds the NDP into what it deserves to be, Canada’s real progressive alternative.