Who will replace Jagmeet Singh as leader of the federal NDP?

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      I plead guilty: that's a rude headline you just read above this article.

      It probably stings New Democrats who are knocking on doors in South Burnaby trying to get Jagmeet Singh a seat in Parliament.

      It's also painful for those who worked so hard to help Singh become NDP leader only 14 months ago, helping him break the colour barrier for leaders of major parties.

      But it's hard not to wonder about Singh's political fate when his party is only at 16.8 percent in the federal poll tracker, which is compiled by CBC analyst Eric Grenier.

      Justin Trudeau's Liberals are at 36.4 percent and the Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, are at 33.6 percent.

      Singh has another major problem: many NDP MPs are saying they won't contest the next election.

      The latest was Fin Donnelly, the popular representative for Port Moody–Coquitlam. The nine-year political veteran and champion of Fraser River salmon says he wants to spend quality time with his family.

      Nanaimo–Ladysmith NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson will resign her seat before completing her first term if she wins a provincial by-election in Nanaimo.

      The Gabriola Island resident is planning to run in the provincial by-election in the seat vacated by Leonard Krog.

      And Burnaby South NDP MP Kennedy Stewart quit less than two years into his most recent term to run for mayor of Vancouver.

      That's just in B.C.

      Fin Donnelly (at microphone) is not seeking reelection. Could Don Davies (left) be next?
      Stephen Hui

      Others who won't run again include the party's only Alberta MP, Linda Duncan, as well as Ontario's David Christopherson and Irene Mathyssen, and Quebec's Roméo Saganash and Hélène Laverdière.

      The former NDP leader, Tom Mulcair, has also quit. And a Saskatchewan MP, Erin Weir, has been booted out of the caucus for failing to read non-verbal cues in social situations.

      There's no word yet on whether Vancouver Kingsway MP Don Davies will seek reelection. Were he to take a pass, it would be another blow to Singh's leadership.

      Since Singh succeeded Mulcair last year, the NDP has already lost eight straight by-elections.

      Singh is hoping to end the jinx when he runs in Burnaby South, but it's no slam dunk for his party, given how close the race was with the Liberals in 2015.

      Were Singh to lose the by-election, he might have to resign before or immediately after the general election next year. That would result in the caucus appointing an interim leader, possibly Charlie Angus or Guy Caron, who came second and fourth in the last leadership race, respectively.

      All of that raises questions over who will be the next permanent leader of the NDP.

      Here are my odds on some potential candidates.

      MP Nathan Cullen has carved out a reputation as a green-minded politician as he's represented a mostly rural riding with a large Indigenous population.
      Charlie Smith

      Nathan Cullen: 4:1

      The 46-year-old Skeena–Bulkley Valley MP is an experienced parliamentarian, a favourite of the national media, and one of the best communicators in federal politics.

      He's green enough to prevent the hemorrhaging of too many votes to the federal Greens, yet pragmatic enough to win plenty of votes in Ontario.

      Cullen speaks French well enough not to be a disaster in Quebec. The only question would be if he wants the job, considering that he sat out the party's 2017 leadership race.

      Cullen wouldn't be a favourite of organized labour, but he would still be a formidable candidate in a one member–one vote election.

      B.C. candidates have lost federal NDP party leadership races dating back to 1971. Maybe it's time for a western MP to lead the party, given that B.C.'s population has now surpassed five million.

      Megan Leslie has plenty of parliamentary experience as the former MP for Halifax.
      Meghan Tansey Whitton/WWF-Canada

      Megan Leslie: 5:1

      The 45-year-old president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada served two terms in Parliament, representing voters in Halifax.

      She rose to deputy leader in 2012 and served as the environment critic until her shocking defeat in the Trudeau landslide of 2015.

      A lawyer and long-time advocate for the LGBT community, she was a favourite of the media in her years in office. Many wanted her to seek the party leadership in 2017 but she declined, saying she wasn't ready to return to politics.

      Her time could come sooner than she might have expected. 

      Alexandre Boulerice survived the Trudeau landslide of 2015—unlike Megan Leslie.
      Alexander Boulerice

      Alexandre Boulerice: 8:1

      The 45-year-old former journalist and union activist retained his seat in 2015 with 49.2 percent of the vote. He's the party's Quebec lieutenant and caucus critic for environment and climate change. In the past he's been the critic for finance, labour, and ethics.

      The Montreal-area MP sat out the 2017 leadership race, throwing his support behind New Westminster–Burnaby MP Peter Julian, who later dropped out.

      If Boulerice were to become the NDP leader, he would solidify NDP fortunes in Quebec, which has taken a right turn provincially with the election of François Legault as premier.

      In Boulerice's heavily French-speaking Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie riding, the NDP's chief opponent has traditionally been the Bloc Québécois.

      In a leadership race, Boulerice might have more appeal to left-wing party members than Cullen, as well as to members of the labour movement.

      But he could also face questions about his previous statements against the niqab—he declared in 2015 that public servants shouldn't be permitted to cover their faces, saying he would like a commission to examine the accommodation of religious and cultural practices.

      B.C. attorney general David Eby has a knack for generating headlines by fashioning himself as a leading anticorruption fighter.

      David Eby: 10:1

      If there's one B.C. cabinet minister with national ambitions, it would likely be Eby. The topics he focuses on—money laundering, white-collar crime, and poor regulation of the real-estate sector—resonate with progressives across the country.

      Born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, he attended law school at Dalhousie University in Halifax, then carved out a name for himself as an antipoverty advocate in Vancouver's tough Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.

      With this background, Eby could present himself as a truly national candidate.

      He's cool under pressure—almost ice cold, at times—and he's sufficiently polished to appeal to voters in Ontario and Quebec. 

      Here's a fun fact: he graduated from Dalhousie's law school the same year that Leslie did. 

      Here's another fun fact: Eby was born in the same city as Canada's longest-serving prime minister, Mackenzie King.

      Eby's major weaknesses would be his lack of connections to organized labour and his relatively low name recognition in other parts of Canada. However, that never held back Singh, who won the party's leadership in a walk by bringing in enough new members.

      Another obstacle for Eby, 41, is that his political rise has been fuelled to a remarkable degree by media reports whipping up fears of foreign buyers of real estate. Public perceptions, however, have not been reflected in data from Statistics Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which suggest the percentage of nonresident owners and foreign buyers of housing is relatively low. Eby's vocal supporters, however, emphasize that their concerns are about "foreign money"—i.e. cash earned in other countries and spent in Canada.

      By that definition, any immigrant who cashes out in their home country and moves to Canada and buys a home is a foreign buyer, even if they've become a citizen and pay taxes to all levels of government. A pro-immigrant candidate could play up this point in an attempt to try to derail an Eby candidacy.

      Nicole Sarauer has impressed many political observers in Saskatchewan.
      Nicole Sarauer

      Nicole Sarauer: 15:1

      Still in her early 30s, the former interim leader of the Saskatchewan NDP is an outstanding debater—and, according to former premier Brad Wall, the most formidable Opposition leader he ever faced.

      Current NDP leader Ryan Meili referred to the Regina MLA as a "pretty killer" after she delivered a speech at a party convention eviscerating the ruling Saskatchewan Party's fiscal incompetence.

      Sarauer, a lawyer, is the Saskatchewan NDP's justice critic and house leader. She's a rising political star, but she might prefer to remain in her home province for now. She also doesn't have a very pronounced national profile yet. That's to say nothing of her ability to campaign in the French language in Quebec and parts of Ontario and New Brunswick.

      Rebecca Blaikie was associated with some of the NDP's greatest successes.
      Matt Jiggins/Jack Layton Leaders Tour

      Rebecca Blaikie: 15:1

      A former two-term party president and daughter of a long-time Winnipeg NDP MP, Blaikie has never been elected to public office. But the fluently bilingual political organizer has served as the NDP's national campaign director in Quebec.

      She ran federally in 2004 in Quebec and in 2011 in Manitoba, and has relationships with NDP officials across the country. It wouldn't be too difficult for her to organize a political machine and bill herself as a truly national candidate.

      Plus, she can claim credit for the NDP's breakthrough in Quebec when it captured Outremont in the 2007 by-election. And she might receive the backing of Mulcair and many of his supporters if she sought the party's top job.

      Blaikie, 40, is more of a centrist, like her father Bill and younger brother Daniel, who's the NDP MP for Elmwood-Transcona.

      If Leslie were to enter the race, it's likely less likely that Blaikie would compete. But if there aren't any other nationally known women competing, it's conceivable that Blaikie could put her name forward.

      Adrian Dix learned some hard lessons from the 2013 B.C. election campaign—foremost among them, don't be too kind to your opponent on the campaign trail.
      Stephen Hui

      Adrian Dix: 20:1

      The 54-year-old former B.C. NDP leader is fluently bilingual and could conceivably enter the race if he's in a mood for a new challenge.

      Currently B.C.'s health minister, Dix would probably win Vancouver Kingsway should the incumbent, Davies, decide not to seek reelection.

      Dix won the provincial NDP leadership in 2011 with the support of diverse communities, including a significant number of Sikh and Filipino members of the provincial party. He could try to replicate that strategy in a national leadership race.

      As the provincial MP for Vancouver-Kingsway, he represents one of the most diverse constituencies in the province.

      Dix is not the most charismatic politician in the land, but he's an extremely hard worker with close ties to many in the labour movement. His wife's Indian ancestry might prove beneficial in vote-rich southern Ontario.

      There's no disputing Dix's intellect and he has Ottawa experience, having previously worked for former NDP MP Ian Waddell.

      In a federal leadership race, Dix could attract many of the people who backed Brian Topp in the party's 2012 campaign. The only serious concern is whether he would be seen as damaged goods, having lost a 2013 general election that many thought was in the bag.

      Dix could argue that he learned lessons from that defeat, which would make him a more effective politician in the future.

      Is the NDP ready for an intellectual to lead the party? That's a question that Avi Lewis will have to answer at some point in the future.
      Avi Lewis

      Avi Lewis: 20:1

      The grandson of former NDP leader David Lewis and son of former Ontario NDP leader Stephen Lewis has a quick mind, tremendous wit, and an engaging personality. But to date, he's demonstrated far greater interest in grassroots activism and documentary filmmaking than seeking high political office.

      Lewis, 50, coauthored the Leap Manifesto, along with his wife, writer Naomi Klein. Both of them are freaked out about the lack of serious action to address climate change. Whether that's enough to get him to run for the NDP leadership remains to be seen.

      This is a party that talks a good game on the climate. But when hard decisions are made, such as green-lighting liquefied natural gas or expanding production in the oilsands, New Democratic Party governments still tend to side with the fossil-fuel sector. Lewis knows this.

      He also knows that elements within the labour movement would try to thwart his candidacy. Should he succeed, he would likely head a hopelessly divided party. Is that the best uses of his energy and intellect? Possibly not.

      Manitoba MP Niki Ashton came third in the last federal NDP leadership contest.
      Charlie Smith

      Niki Ashton: 25:1

      She's run twice and lost twice in her attempts to lead the NDP. The last time, her Bernie Sanders–style approach just didn't resonate with nearly enough members for her to come close to winning. She finished third, which was ahead of Caron but with less than a third of Singh's vote total.

      The multilingual Ashton, 36, might try again, but given recent history, there's no reason to believe that the results would be different this time around. However, she might still run in the hope of becoming a kingmaker or queenmaker—and ensuring the future NDP leader puts income inequality, intersectional feminism, and the difficulties faced by younger Canadians at the centre of the party's concerns.

      Rachel Notley's relentless attacks on British Columbia may finish off any chance she has of winning a federal NDP leadership race.

      Rachel Notley: 25:1

      If the Alberta premier loses the upcoming provincial election but still puts in a respectable showing, her supporters might encourage her to seek the federal NDP leadership.

      That would be anathema to B.C. climate activists, but within the NDP, she could still attract a considerable degree of support.

      Notley, 54, might realize that with Conservatives united in one Alberta provincial party, she'll never again have a crack at winning. So why not go national? It would be a way for her to continue the fight for new pipelines.

      Besides, she's not getting along very well with Justin Trudeau these days.

      Vancouver MP Jenny Kwan is a fiery debater in Parliament and has never lost an election since entering local politics in 1993.

      Jenny Kwan: 28:1

      The first-term Vancouver East MP has a lengthy political résumé: former provincial cabinet minister, five-term MLA, and former city councillor. She's also been an outspoken housing and harm-reduction advocate for years.

      In addition, Kwan is popular with Indigenous people and diverse communities. Her endorsement of Singh helped propel him to the party leadership.

      Kwan, 51, is also effective in Parliament and her Cantonese is flawless.

      But for her, the biggest disincentive might be the thought of participating in a televised French-language leaders' debate. That might be enough to convince her—and some of her colleagues in the NDP caucus, including Don Davies—not to put their names forward.

      Charlie Angus's best chance might be if Jagmeet Singh quits before the federal election, and he steps in as interim leader.

      Charlie Angus: 30:1

      He was the runner-up to Singh in 2017, but his entire vote total was still quite low. It was a humiliating defeat for the 56-year-old MP for Timmins–James Bay, who was backed by many party establishment figures. 

      I suspect that Angus is more likely to continue playing a supporting role in the federal NDP caucus rather than vying for the top job a second time. Why not just become interim leader—especially if it gives him a chance to head the party into a general election?

      If he outperformed expectations, it would provide a lasting political legacy before he passed the baton on to his successor.

      Svend Robinson posed for a picture with old friend Libby Davies at the Vancouver Pride parade in 2016.
      Charlie Smith

      Svend Robinson: 100 to 1

      The former Burnaby MP is reportedly "very seriously considering" a comeback by running in Burnaby North–Seymour, which is held by Liberal MP Terry Beech.

      The 66-year-old represented North Burnaby residents in Parliament for 25 years before a scandal involving a stolen ring ended his political career in 2004. He was later diagnosed with a form of bipolar disorder.

      Robinson went on to work for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, but he's retained a keen interest in Canadian political issues.

      He's now trying to help Singh get elected in Burnaby South.

      Despite the circumstances that led to his political demise 14 years ago, Robinson has outstanding political skills. As an MP, he was adept in several aspects of the game—constituency work, advancing legislation, media relations, parliamentary debate, giving speeches, and picking apart government bills for their shortcomings.

      He was also well ahead of his time with his keen interest in environmental issues and his long-standing advocacy for minority rights. Plus, he speaks outstanding French.

      In 1995, Robinson very nearly became NDP leader after coming in first after the initial balloting. While it seems far-fetched that he would ever run again, it's conceivable that he could marshal enormous support from progressives who want real climate action from the NDP.

      The advantage of a Robinson candidacy is it would peel away many left-wing climate activists from the Greens.

      Were Robinson to become NDP leader, it would be North America's greatest political comeback since Richard Nixon was elected president.

      Libby Davies: 1,000,000:1

      Don't even think about it—even though the former Vancouver East NDP MP remains one of the party's most popular figures in a generation.

      She's done with constantly flying back and forth between Vancouver and Ottawa.