Canada’s federal new democrats met in Hamilton the other day. It was a weekend of glad-handing and denial. It was a weekend of conviviality and self delusion. It was renditions of “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Solidarity Forever” by a mixture of faiths and agnostics. It left a practising Sikh at the helm of a fated Argo.
There was no recognition in that gathering of why Jagmeet Singh has taken his party down the slippery slope to potential oblivion. The direction was clear. Singh’s eroding support has dropped to 81 per cent.
What few new democrats recognise is that Singh owes his first loyalty to his fellow Sikhs. He trained as a lawyer and the new democratic party is just his client. He represents the new democrats to their Canadian judges. He is a persistent advocate. He has to deal with distrust on both sides of the supply and confidence agreement he made with Justin Trudeau’s liberals.
Singh can point to the progress in dental care. His party can look forward to the anti-scab legislation for federally incorporated companies. Pharmacare remains a work in progress. And it all remains part of Trudeau’s legacy. Many NDP are also dissatisfied with the lack of universality in the dental care program.
Older NDPers have seen support for liberals before and lack any degree of trust in the arrangements Singh has made.
The crisis in the Middle East also bothered many party members. They wanted Singh to say whether he stood on the possibility of Israel committing war crimes. He made no commitments on one side or the other.
Singh also said recently that he was concerned that his family might not be feeling safe in Canada after the claim that agents of India might have been involved in the murder of a Canadian Sikh who was a pro-Kalistan advocate.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to: