Is Jagmeet Singh on the verge of his first big political victory?
By Barfi Culture Team
6th June 2018

In the Punjabi-heavy suburb of Brampton, the orange team have a spring in their step. The Jagmeet Singh wave is coming. They can almost feel it.

Tomorrow, Thursday 7th June, voters across Ontario will choose 124 members of the provincial Parliament. As the most populous and politically significant province in Canada, what happens in Ontario could change everything.

And it could be a national springboard for Jagmeet Singh, whose NDP seems to be at the forefront of public opinion there.

The Ontario Liberal Party leader Kathleen Wynne admitted last week she won't be re-elected. That has hampered Liberal candidates.

The Progressive Conservative party, led by Doug Ford, is staying competitive but remains mired in controversy.

That leaves Andrea Horwath, the Ontario NDP leader, who could win as voting day approaches.

Recent polls of public opinion show a tight race with the NDP slightly behind the PC party, and Liberals languishing way below.

Why is this important?

4 in 10 of all Canadians live in Ontario.

Showing it can run the Ontario government well could help the NDP make the case for running the federal government, with Jagmeet Singh as PM.

"Andrea Horwath's popularity paired with Jagmeet Singh’s could yield historic results in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and across the province on election day," says Amneet Singh Bali, former communications director for Jagmeet Singh's leadership campaign.

He told Barfi Culture that Jagmeet Singh is the only person to ever have won a seat for the NDP in the history of the crucial Peel region (which includes areas like Brampton).

"We are witnessing the Jagmeet Singh effect coupled with Andrea Horwath's popularity in every region of the province," he added.

But Supriya Dwivedi, a columnist at Global News and commentator on CBC, thinks Singh still has a mountain to climb.

"Jagmeet still doesn’t have a seat federally, has yet to have a single week where he’s dominating headlines in a positive manner, and seems to fumble with the most basic of caucus messaging."

The Ontario election could change the national dynamic, she said, "insofar as it gives the NDP some credibility in voters minds about being able to actually form government". But historically there has been little overlap between provincial and federal elections in Ontario she added.

Tactical voting

What matters now is which way voters go.

Each riding (constituency) is determined by the First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) voting system. Whoever gets the most votes wins that area. Polling shows the PC party vote is spread out most evenly, which could hand them an advantage.

But the NDP could do well if enough voters think they the only hope of stopping Doug Ford and the PC party.

In the past the Liberals have benefited from tactical voting. Barry Kay, an associate professor of political science, told the Toronto Star that people who may have voted Liberal in the past are "increasingly concerned about a Ford majority or a Ford government," so they’re moving to the NDP.

But the NDP could win the popular vote but ends up with less seats than the PCs because of the voting system.

But if the NDP wins well, talk of Jagmeet Singh as Prime Minister will become a serious possibility.

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