In the hours following Ontario’s last election, as a Toronto news channel cut to commercial, there flashed some footage of what appeared to be the evening’s best victory party. It was not Kathleen Wynne’s festivities, or those of any other Liberals celebrating their party’s return to majority government. Instead, while most New Democrats around the province were grumbling about their failure to make electoral gains, the happy scene was unfolding in the headquarters of re-elected NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh, where an energized dance floor of South Asian twentysomethings and teenagers was dancing the night away.
Looking like something even non-partisans might enjoy – accessible, fun, maybe even kind of cool – it was visual evidence of how Mr. Singh has offered hope to his party at a time when it has had few other bright spots east of Alberta.
If Justin Trudeau and his campaign team watched the clip now, they would have good reason to feel a bit unsettled. Because on Monday, unless he changes his plans last minute, Mr. Singh will announce his campaign to become the leader of the federal New Democrats.
He may not get as much attention as he should, less than two weeks before the end of a Conservative leadership campaign that has thus far overshadowed the New Democrats’ more nascent race. But there is good reason to believe that the dapper and charismatic 38-year-old former criminal-defence lawyer, now the Ontario NDP’s deputy leader, poses more potential threat to Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals than anyone seeking to lead either of the major opposition parties.