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Whether someone agrees or disagrees with Jack Layton’s views, there’s no denying that he was an effective leader from the perspective of his party.
He took over the NDP when it was a weak, nearly-fringe organization, and slowly but surely built it up until a huge breakthrough was reached in 2011.
The NDP won over 100 seats, became the official opposition, and consigned the Liberals to third party status.
It appeared a political realignment had taken place that would reshape Canadian politics forever. And then, Layton tragically succumbed to disease, passing away just as he neared the pinnacle of achievement.
We all know what happened next:
Layton was replaced by Tom Mulcair, who didn’t have the same charisma and connection to voters, and the NDP fell back into third place as the Liberals vaulted into the top spot and won a majority in 2015.
Yet, Layton’s political legacy still remained largely intact.
Even in defeat, the NDP won a strong number of seats, had a leader with some credibility and experience, had a base in Quebec, and could make a credible case for being a competitive organization.
But, NDP members decided to boot out Mulcair and replace him with Jagmeet Singh, a decision that has been disastrous for the party.
In his time as party leader, Singh has squandered what Jack Layton worked so hard to build.
Layton was effective because he was seen as a man of principle. Even those who completely disagreed with his political views could respect that Layton believed in what he was saying, and that Layton had a real idea of how he wanted things to be.
In fact, Layton often got in trouble with the establishment media for being "too critical" of the Liberals. In one example, Layton got really angry and ripped into Paul Martin after a growing number of homeless people died in the cold.
Of course, Layton also regularly slammed the Conservatives, casting the NDP as an anti-establishment party that would avoid the corruption many saw in the two main contenders.
Still, people across the political spectrum respected Layton, as could be seen in how Stephen Harper graciously granted a state funeral for him.
By contrast, Jagmeet Singh leads a party that is nothing more than a sad rump of the Liberals. He has lost all the support Layton built up in Quebec. His party can’t raise money. They are indistinguishable from the Liberals.
While they may put on a brave face for the public, we can be sure that the NDP is absolutely demoralized behind the scenes. People who voted NDP weren’t voting for a Liberal-NDP coalition. They certainly weren’t voting for Jagmeet Singh to prop up Trudeau over and over again.
The NDP are now reduced to calling Trudeau a liar, slamming his corruption, and then bailing him out time and time again, even shutting down investigations into the WE Scandal—something the NDP pretended to be upset about for a while.
It’s a sad moment for Canada, both because our country is being denied true government accountability, and because the political legacy of one of Canada’s greatest politicians is being thrown away by an incompetent replacement.