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Deputies warned Singh in June that he will become the leader if he cannot win in Barnaby South

As CBC News learned, several senior members of the NDP federal assembly in June warned NDP leader Jagmit Singh that he could not remain the party leader if he lost the next month's election in South Burnaby.

Two members of parliament from the New Democrats who spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity were among a small group of meeting participants who met with Singh last summer to tell him that losing the election on February 25 would cause him to leave retirement They belong to a group of nine NDP deputies who tell CBC News that, in their opinion, Singh will have no choice but to resign if he does not get his place next month.

“We told him to come in, back in June, when it was conceived … that if you do this, it's all-in. This is not how you hope to win this thing. You must. that, "one deputy told CBC News.

“It was understood. Maybe there will be some kind of revisionist history if he does not do this (he wins). ”

With this agrees the former chief strategist of Poland.

“This is self-evident. If you lose the election, if you can't win in the Burnaby People's Republic, where can you win? ”Said Carl Belanger, the former national director of the NDP and former chief secretary of former leader Tom Mulkeyra.

"I think Mr. Singh knows this, and I think that he is trying to show everyone that he is going to win this place and then lead the party in the next election."

The June meeting took place in an isolated committee room in the basement of Hill’s Central Parliament during the week when the House of Commons was closed for a summer recess.


Sources told CBC News that the NDP leader at the meeting agreed that participation in the elections would be all-in. Singh, according to sources, said that he is confident of victory, that he believes that he will participate in his community campaign.

"Therefore, if he fails at his best, in a part of the country we must succeed in – in British Columbia in general and in Vancouver in particular – I do not know what their argument is for Singh to remain a leader." senior MP from the NDP said.

Speaking with CBC News on Friday, Singh avoided questions about what he can do if he loses his candidacy in the election, insisting that he is in a good position to win.

“I am not focused on myself and I know that if we work hard, we will win here,” he said. "We will win in the south of Burnaby, because we need people."

If Singh privately agrees that he will not be able to stay if he fails to get a seat in the House of Commons next month, this would be contrary to his public position on this issue. In an interview with Rosemary Barton, which was broadcast on CBC National On January 20, Singh insisted that he remain the leader, even if he loses on February 25.

"I will be the leader who will lead the New Democratic Party in the elections of 2019," said Singh. “I am confident that we will succeed on this trip. We communicate with people, we get a lot of support. ”

In total, CBC and Radio-Canada contacted more than half of the 40 members of the NDP meeting. Not all of the meeting participants contacted by CBC News responded, but most of those who spoke with CBC say they are sure Singh will win.

What happens if he loses?

Five refused to comment on what they called the “hypothetical” scenario. Two members expressed their full support for Singh. Some have said that they believe that the decision to stay or leave lies with him.

Council members are not the only ones who say Singh should leave if he fails at Barnaby South. Some veterans who do not participate in the New Democrat meetings disagree — at least one indicates that Singh’s departure may be the result of a dirty process.

“First, a group of party elders would advise him that the time has come. If he resisted, then voting at the meeting is optional, but humiliating, ”said the party’s strategist, who asked not to be named. Then a vote is taken by the NDP Federal Council.

“The timing to leave gives him the advantage of a graceful exit. Being forced means that it will end sadly. Given the limited campaign for liberalization (elections), I doubt that it will come to this. ”

Liberals recently beat Richard T. Lee, formerly B.S. The legislator, to run the horse after their first candidate, Karen Wan resigned because of a controversial post campaign forcing the Chinese to vote for her as "only" the Chinese candidate.

However, CBC News has learned that the NDP is working on various contingency plans, which can take effect if Singh fails in the south of Burnaby.

Plans B, C and on

If, for example, Singh loses and immediately steps aside as a leader, one option would be to immediately hold a leadership competition — much like the one who quickly gathered in Ontario after Patrick Brown was forced to step down as a progressive conservative leader. sexual abuse charges.

But the federal PDP is now in a completely different place than the Ontario PC last year, when they organized a leadership vote, which resulted in Doug Ford replacing Brown.

At the time, provincial PCs were leading in polls; According to a CBC & Poll Tracker survey, federal NDP support is only 14.2% nationwide. By the time Brown left, the Conservatives from Ontario had collected a huge amount, and it was easy for them to pay for the convention. The federal PDP, meanwhile, continues to fight fundraising.

Another option was to see that the meeting chose a temporary leader. In the NDP circles, two names were suggested as possible leaders: B.S. MP Nathan Cullen and Quebec MP Guy Caron.

Any interim leader chosen by the caucus must be approved by the federal council before leading the party to general elections, followed by a race for leadership – the only way to choose a permanent leader according to party rules.

Some members gathered at stake what they considered an elegant outlet for Singh: they offered him the position of deputy leader and lieutenant of Ontario and allowed him to flee to East Brampton, the area he used to represent at the provincial level. Subsequently, Singh could again run for the party leadership, entrenched politically, gaining a seat in the House of Commons.

NDP leader Jagmit Singh runs to the house, knocking on the door to his election campaign in Burnaby, DC, on Saturday, January 12, 2019. (Darryl Dick / CANADIAN PRESS)

Belanger said that if Singh loses in the south of Burnaby and then tries to remain the party leader, the only way to remove him is to revise the leadership.

But leadership reviews occur on party agreements — and the NDP has no agreement, scheduled until after the federal election fall. In order to begin a leadership review, it is necessary to convene a special convention. It could only be summoned by the federal council of the NDP or at the request of most federal riding associations.

One PNP strategist, who also asked not to be named, is skeptical of the special convention option: “Part of me does not believe in these people in order to bring a knife to the battle.

“These people face difficulties that this leader has received an overwhelming majority of votes from members of the first ballot (in the race for leadership), and then this vote was strengthened in February 2018 with the overwhelming support of all members of the membership. attended the convention here in Ottawa when he received 92.8 percent (support). "

Preparing for the worst

Former NDP candidate and leader of 2012, Peggy Nash, said that those who are working on a contingency plan if Singh loses in the south of Burnaby just do the obvious.

“I like to play chess, and I always think about a few steps ahead, and I always have backup plans. I think it's just good sound control to have contingency plans, no matter what happens, ”said Nash.

BC. NDP deputy Don Davis said he was confident that Singh would take his place next month, and that his presence in the House of Commons would strengthen his leadership. “I count on the fact that I will have many advantages, including fundraising and the total number of surveys,” he said. “I think that everything will be better as soon as Jagmit is in the house.

“There was a lot of attention to what would happen if he didn't win. I think that the only fair result when he wins is to put an end to this chatter. ”

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