Jagmeet’s Singh's ties are impressive. His tailor deserves sincere gratitude from the Canadian public for elevating the fashion sense of the House of Commons floor from its overall Midwest Banking Manager Convention vibe to its present glory—now we’re at the level of Alright, At Least One Person Gets It. That’s where all acclaim for Jagmeet stops. Abruptly. Like the vanishing lines of Swiss-made Zegna Couture. Singh has not lived up to the promise of his suits. Lately, it’s not him wearing the suits so much as the suits wearing him.
I had hoped that Singh’s election in the Burnaby by-election in February would raise his profile, give him the national media platform he, and his tailor, deserve. A small bump maybe, but nothing Singh could sustain. When SNC-Lavalin hit, the federal NDP leader was absent or timid in his response. He called for an inquiry. We got one. He called for an apology. He kind of got one. It is difficult to even gauge Singh’s response to SNC-Lavalin. Either he doesn’t speak on it often or what he says isn’t memorable. His local constituency is noticing. Chris Campbell, for Burnaby Now on August 14:
"Singh needs to use his much-touted communications skills to rise above this and be the one voters turn to on Oct. 21. He must do more than just criticize what Trudeau did, but convince voters he is someone they can trust to not do this kind of thing.
"The time is now. The situation is desperate for the NDP, who are also struggling to raise money with just over two months to go. We’ll see what Singh does with this opportunity."
Nothing turns out to be the answer we can safely report, one week later. If the leader of the political left can’t make political hay out of the alarmingly anti-democratic and authoritarian behaviour of the government, then what’s the use of that leader? No opportunity better than that to offer yourself, your party and your platform to the Canadian public is ever going to present itself and buddy, you blew it. And it’s not just you who is going to pay.
Until a few weeks ago the political tracker blog 338 Canada listed Kwan’s seat in Vancouver East as Safe NDP, meaning 338 Canada projected that, according to an aggregation of all major national and regional polling, Kwan had zero (0) percent chance of losing. Kwan’s seat had been rated Safe NDP for months, so long that I’d stopped checking regularly. Presently, 338 Canada lists only one seat—across the country—as safe NDP (Windsor-West, Ontario).
Everything in Vancouver, the NDP’s last great urban bastion, is now up for grabs. In Vancouver East it’s a contest now, a pretty close one, between NDP and Green. Kwan, statistically, still retains a 75 per cent change of winning. Should still be enough to see her through. But how did it even get close? At a time when the party should be in the ascendant, instead the federal NDP appears about to go over, albeit quite stylishly, a cliff. Any competent leader on the left should have been able to boost their party’s fortunes during a democratic crisis as serious as SNC-Lavalin. Worse than missing an open net.
To be sure, Kwan has done her own campaign no favours. She’s embroiled herself in spending scandals. She doesn’t live in Vancouver East, one of Canada’s poorest districts. She lives in Kitsilano, much swankier, in a home purchased in 2014 for a reported $1.9 million. Flashiest socialists I’ve ever seen. Sometimes it’s almost like the NDP doesn’t want to challenge Trudeau, they just want to be him next.