Jagmeet Singh’s days as federal NDP leader have been so ill-starred you almost feel sorry for the guy.
That’s not a good thing. Politicians want to look bold, decisive and successful, not confused, unlucky and accident-prone. Singh can’t get a break. The last good thing that happened to him was winning the New Democratic Party leadership race 10 months ago, and so much has gone wrong since then you have to wonder whether he wishes he’d never entered.
He’s young, articulate, and has a pleasant personality. Yet so hapless has his tenure become that the embarrassments are coming in pairs. Friday was meant to be a good day, in which he revealed he’d finally settled on a site to seek election to the House of Commons — Burnaby, B.C., where the local MP is quitting. Yet the announcement only sparked new questions. Lots of questions.
Why run in Burnaby? Singh was born in Scarborough and lives in Brampton, bookends for suburban Toronto. Why not seek a seat somewhere in Ontario where he’s better known and might stand a better chance of victory? Why choose a seat his party barely carried in the last election, and where the risks of failure would be so significant?
Right away there were doubts whether he and his wife could even afford to move there, as promised: single family homes cost in the neighbourhood of $1.7 million, and condos in the region of $730,000. His promise to remain as party leader if he loses the by-election was just odd: first, speculating about failure is never a good idea in politics.