Stewart Kiff | October 2017
Last October 1st, we witnessed the elevation of Brampton MPP Jagmeet Singh to the leadership of the federal New Democratic Party. Jagmeet has been a very popular and charismatic MPP at Queen’s Park. Since he was first elected in 2011, he has easily attracted positive media coverage not only in political news, but also in lifestyle publications like Toronto Life.
In choosing him, the federal NDP made a strategic choice, picking a young, urban and authentic leader to face off against Justin Trudeau’s charm juggernaut in the fall 2019 general election. Jagmeet will have time to adjust to Parliament Hill and get the hang of the national party and national politics before he faces the electorate.
Interestingly, leaders that are younger than Justin Trudeau now head both federal opposition parties.
At Queen’s Park, Singh’s departure leaves a hole in the provincial NDP. The party is still trying to pinpoint why it failed to win the June 1, 2017 by-election in Sault Ste. Marie. This seat was regarded as the NDP’s to lose. Yet the Ontario PCs managed a 32% swing in voter support, coming from third place in the 2014 election to first place. The NDP knows it should not be losing seats in its Northeastern Ontario heartland if it wants to stay relevant in Ontario politics, but the PCs have also set their sights on a number of northern seats.
Summer also saw the departure from Queen’s Park of one of its most interesting characters − former Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many conversations with this noted Francophile. He will be missed at Queen’s Park both for his love of public engagement and his late night provocative tweeting. He has moved on to an Alberta-based environmental think tank.
In an uncommon move, premier Kathleen Wynne has chosen not to call a by-election to fill his seat. In fact, it is expected that both Murray’s and Singh’s seats will remain vacant until the June 6th provincial general election.
Not holding a by-election is an unusual decision since Murray’s riding − Toronto Centre − is considered a safe Liberal seat. Not having a local MPP to attend events, respond to constituents, build lists and fundraise will put the Liberals at a relative disadvantage in that riding in the next general election.
Finally, I’d like to draw your attention to an article of mine that was published in the Ottawa Citizen over the summer: “Disproportionate funding goes to media outlet linked to Falun Gong”. In this article, I raise questions about what strikes me as unusual funding practices by the Canada Media Fund for Chinese Canadian media.
Our new Senior Associate, Karen Lin, regularly publishes in The Huffington Post. You can read her latest articles here: Karen Lin’s articles. And for more on Karen, please read on.
I hope you enjoy this newsletter. As usual, our entire team welcomes your feedback, both positive and negative, as we are always looking for ways to improve the service we provide our clients.
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