Let me tell you where I am going, but first a few of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle I am offering you:
The first piece of the puzzle is Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal New Democratic Party (NDP), a very likable fellow by all accounts. Unfortunately, it takes much more than mere likability to score on the federal political stage – especially if the goal is to carry the proverbial ball, not just out of your end into midfield but all the way into the end zone.
To suggest that Singh is ineffectual would be unfairly critical but only just. He simply does not have the charisma of former NDP leader Jack Layton who became leader in 2003; increased the party’s representation in the House of Commons in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 federal elections; and finally won 103 seats in 2011, taking the party for the first time to the position of Official Opposition and decimating the Liberal party count in the process.
Nor does Singh appear to have the capacity of the party’s subsequent leader Tom Mulcair, who won the leadership and role of Leader of the Opposition in 2012 after Jack Layton tragically died of cancer. Although Mulcair was not as effective a vote getter as Layton had been – in the 2015 federal election the party only won 44 seats and dropped back to third place in the House of Commons — his ability to cross-examine then Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House was truly extraordinary.
I strongly suspect — but desperately hope I am wrong — that Singh will take the party nowhere in the next federal election, which must occur on or before October 20, 2025. Immediately after that, the ‘powers that be’ will quietly ask him to resign as leader and he will agree.
The second piece of the puzzle is that there really is not a currently sitting NDP Member of Parliament who immediately comes to mind as an obvious new leader, with the possible exception of my favourite Don Davies, who represents Vancouver Kingsway. Unfortunately — and I may need to be corrected — he does not speak the nation’s other official language, French, a precondition to being leader.
There is a third piece to the puzzle. Sometimes, albeit not very often, a provincial NDP premier will move up the political ladder to become leader of the federal NDP. Tommy Douglas immediately comes to mind. Ex-B.C. NDP Premier Dave Barrett tried and sadly failed.
And a fourth piece to the puzzle. Although I may have been spending too much time during my summer vacation trying to master the art of reading tea leaves, my interest in prediction was stirred when B.C. Premier David Eby wrote a letter on August 31,2023 to Tiff Macklem, Governor of the Bank of Canada, urging him not to raise interest rates yet again. This letter attracted much media coverage, presumably not because the media are in the habit of surreptitiously monitoring Eby’s mail, but because Eby’s office took the necessary steps to share the letter with the media to ensure it received coverage.
What I found thought-provoking about Eby’s letter is that it was on an issue quite outside of a provincial premier’s jurisdiction. Setting the interest rate is an entirely federal matter, with the Bank of Canada determining monetary policy independently of any level of government.
Sidebar – given the great media coverage Eby received, I immediately wondered why Singh had not done the same thing. Just supposing that Singh, like Eby, had immediately recognized the difference between a leader treading water and a leader who is swimming for gold.
If by now if you have not begun to put the jigsaw pieces together, let me tell you how it all fits.
I predict, with a great deal of certainty, that Eby will effortlessly cruise to a comfortable win in B.C.’s next provincial election, which is set for October 2024. And as I predicted above, Singh will vacate his position as federal NDP leader fairly shortly after the next federal election.
The only fly in the ointment — and it’s a VERY big fly — is timing.
One of the traditional preconditions to leaving one area of politics and moving to another is the completion of an entire term. This may be a deal breaker if Eby wants to run for federal leader at the party convention that will follow Singh’s resignation.
However, if those ‘powers that be’ are secretly pulling for Eby, and if Singh does not resign until late 2025, the leadership convention will be scheduled sometime in 2026, which would give Premier Eby enough time under his belt as provincial premier to get away with what I am predicting – his successful run for the leadership of the federal NDP!
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (September 6, 2023): 418.65ppm
One year ago (September 6, 2022): 416.23ppm
Subscribe to Tim Louis
Keep up to date Tim's latest posts.