The Current

Jagmeet Singh's win could reboot NDP, but only if party stands on firm socialist ground, says former MPP

After capturing Burnaby South in Monday's byelection, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will take a seat in the House of Commons for the first time. Will it give him a chance to turn around the party's flagging fortunes before the next election?

No one needs another Liberal party, says Cheri DiNovo

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh won a byelection in Burnaby South, B.C., Monday, with 39 per cent of the vote (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

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Jagmeet Singh could lead the NDP to victory in the federal election this fall, but only if the party re-engages with its socialist roots, according to a former NDP MPP.

"We're looking at polls that say that socialism, as a word, is now more popular than capitalism for millennials," said Cheri DiNovo, who served for 11 years as an Ontario NDP MPP.

She told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti that to capture those votes, the NDP doesn't need "slippery language," but needs to stand "on firm socialist ground." The party needs to espouse positions like "being very adamant about our opposition to pipelines, being very pro about doing something for the environment," she added.

"We need to take stands that are in dramatic contrast to liberalism, and neo-liberalism and centrism … no one needs another Liberal party.

"And ... if we do that, yes, I think we'll win."

Singh won a byelection in Burnaby South, B.C., Monday, with 39 per cent of the vote. He will take a seat in the House of Commons for the first time. His win was balanced against an NDP loss to the Liberals in another byelection in Outremont, Que, the centre of the so-called Orange Wave that boosted the NDP to Official Opposition status in 2011, for the first time in its history.

Jagmeet Singh calls for change in Ottawa after byelection win

3 years ago
Duration 1:19
NDP leader rallies supporters after Burnaby South win, calls for change in Ottawa

The party now sits at 14 per cent nationally, 11 per cent in Quebec and 16 per cent in B.C., according to CBC's poll tracker.

"The bad news is we've halved our polling in Quebec. The bad news is we're losing MPs who are not running again. That's the bad news," said DiNovo.

"The good news is that this … could be a reboot and that Jagmeet's completely capable of being a leader in such a reboot, if and only if, the party starts focusing on policies and starts focusing on principles."

To discuss the byelection results and what lies ahead for the NDP,  Tremonti was joined by:

  • Ed Broadbent, former leader of the federal NDP, and chair of the Broadbent Institute
  • Farouk Karim, who served as press secretary for the federal NDP caucus until 2016, and now works for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers
  • Cheri DiNovo, who served for 11 years as an Ontario NDP MPP, and is now the minister at Trinity-St. Paul's Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts in Toronto

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.

Written by Padraig Moran, with files from CBC News. Produced by Idella Sturino and Anne Penman.


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