Jagmeet’s ‘means test.’

It is a trap that more and more New Democratic Party spokespeople are falling into. By denying universality of programs, they think they are attracting voters from the right. They are not. They are setting themselves up for failure with their traditional supporters. It is a losing proposition.

And when Jagmeet Singh poses his challenge to the universality of Old Age Security, he is annoying seniors and winning no new friends. To suggest that he wants to create a means-tested Old Age Security replacement wins him no friends either.

With the universal delivery of Old Age Security, it is easy to deliver and easy to claw back from pensioners who do not need it.

It is interesting that Jagmeet has gotten on board with fellow leadership candidate MP Guy Caron’s suggestion of a guaranteed income supplement for Canadians. Like all economists, Mr. Caron makes a strong argument for his plan but he also makes it too complicated. Jagmeet might just be looking at the likelihood of Guy Caron not making it past the first ballot in the upcoming voting. The Ontario MPP thinks he can pick up those mainly Quebec votes to help put him over the top.

A key factor in the New Democratic leadership race will be the new sign-ups by each of the candidates. Considering the number of South Asian immigrants across Canada, it depends on how much time Jagmeet Singh’s supporters have had to line up memberships in that community. Jagmeet must have noted the ease with which Patrick Brown lined up enough supporters in that community to swamp the existing provincial Conservative membership in Ontario. We will know the answer after the membership cut-off scheduled for August 17.

(It would be interesting to run the new Ontario NDP memberships against the Ontario Progressive Conservative memberships of 2015. You might be surprised at the number of one-time Conservatives who have seen the light and have now joined the NDP.)

The final membership figures will be the key to a reasonably accurate Morning Line from Babel-on-the-Bay on August 28. Judging by what we have seen so far, the hunch is that we will know who has been chosen the new leader of the New Democratic Party at the closing of the first ballot on October 1, 2017. There might be no need for subsequent ballots.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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