If Canadians elect either a Conservative or a Liberal majority government, there may not be a Jagmeet 2.0.
That means that Jagmeet Singh will not have a second chance to run for prime minister as he could be pushed out as leader of the federal NDP.
If Singh is to stay on as NDP leader, a minority government is a desired outcome of the October 21 ballot.
Maxime Héroux-Legault, an assistant professor in the department of economics, philosophy and political science at UBC Okanagan, laid out this scenario as the campaign marks its final days.
“If there is a minority government, that’s something that could be used as a reason to keep the leader,” Héroux-Legault told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
Polls suggest a minority government emerging from the election.
According to Héroux-Legault, minority governments typically last one or two years, and parties would want a leader in place to lead the next election.
“Because if you have a majority government, it means you have four years to choose a new leader, run a leadership convention, do all of these things,” the UBC academic explained. “Whereas under a minority government, you want to be in a state of election preparedness.”
Singh has declared that he is not going to support the Conservatives if no party gains a majority of seats.
The NDP leader has also said that he will “absolutely” back Justin Trudeau and the Liberals in a coalition government.
Talk of a coalition between Liberals and New Democrats prompted Conservative leader Andrew Scheer to call on voters to elect a majority government led by his party.
Before the dissolution of Parliament, the NDP had 39 seats.
Of these 39 seats, 15 are in Quebec, and the NDP is projected to lose heavily in the province.
The NDP is forecast to keep two seats at most in Quebec.
A loss in Quebec “probably won’t have much of an impact” on Singh’s career as NDP leader, according to Héroux-Legault.
The UBC assistant professor noted that the recent surge of public opinion in support of the NDP could mean that New Democrats may do well in other regions of the country.
“It appears that the NDP would be able to maintain a decent number of representatives in the House of Commons,” Héroux-Legault said. “They would likely not grow much more than what they had over 2015, but they would be somehow in the same ballpark.”
According to Héroux-Legault, the NDP may be able to “remain in the high 30s number of seats”.
“If the election ends up in a minority government, that’s not a good period to look for a new leader because you want to have a leader in case there is a new election or that there are negotiations with the government to form a coalition or to form some type of agreement to support the government."
It remains to be seen if Singh can lead the NDP to become the Official Opposition like what the late Jack Layton did in 2011. If that were to happen, there will be a Jagmeet 2.0.