Singh by-election victory boosts NDP despite losses elsewhere

Published On February 26, 2019 | By paulschubert | Features, Politics

Paul F. Schubert

Jagmeet Singh, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, easily won a by-election in Burnaby-South, B.C.

This comes after months of speculation regarding what would happen to Singh if he lost Monday’s vote.

He has now officially secured a position in the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament. He also retains his position as Party Leader of the NDP.

Nelson Wiseman, Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, told Humber News on Tuesday that he wasn’t surprised that Singh had won his seat.

“Why would I be surprised? I predicted it yesterday based on the polls I saw and stories about the first Liberal candidate who was dropped,” Wiseman said.

CBC News reported that results from Burnaby South in B.C., showed Singh with 39 per cent of the vote. The Liberals followed with 26 per cent, followed by the Conservatives with 22.5 per cent. The People’s Party of Canada had  10.6 per cent.

However, even with a major victory like this one, the NDP still has to come to grips with its losses in other parts of the country.

In another by-election in Outremont in Montréal, the NDP lost the seat to the Liberals who have been getting a hold in the city.

“Outremont’s demography makes it a natural fit for the Liberals who have held it for most of the past century,” Wiseman said.

“Yes, the Liberal win reflects something – the decline of the NDP – but more vital in terms of a trend is the political climate outside Montreal.”

Another political observer agrees.

Christo Aivalis, who is also a Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto, says that Outremont is an important riding for the Liberals.

“We often think of it as an NDP riding in the last 10 years or in the last decade or so since Tom Mulcair took the riding in the mid-2000s,” Aivalis said.

“But from I think it was 1935 until Tom Mulcair rose to the NDP, the Liberals had only lost that riding once.”

Wiseman also said that despite the NDP’s win in Burnaby, the losses overall are still greater for the party.

“The Liberals won given the shellacking they’ve received in the most recent polls but these results indicate virtually nothing about the coming general election,” Wiseman said.

“[This is] beyond the NDP’s decline and the threat Bernier’s party poses for the Conservatives.”

Overall, Wiseman agrees that the by-election results allow for no predictions about the upcoming federal election, besides the NDP’s decline.

The Conservative party held on to the riding of York-Simcoe. Scot Davidson handily won the seat without any major difficulties.

In fact, Wiseman said that it didn’t matter that Davidson won the seat.

“No, as predictable as Outremont going Liberal,” Wiseman said.

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