April 21, 2019 11:15 am
Updated: April 22, 2019 8:27 pm

Jagmeet Singh ‘not at all’ worried whether losing a quarter of incumbents reflects leadership

WATCH: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tells Mercedes Stephenson the federal NDP does not benefit from Rachel Notley's loss and dismisses any leadership questions when asked about his party's fundraising and candidate nominations heading into an election.

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A baker’s dozen worth of NDP MPs have said over the past year that they will not run again in the fall election.

But NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he isn’t worried about whether that could be a reflection on his leadership style.

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In an interview with the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson, Singh was asked about the loss of his political peer, former Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley, with whom he was often at odds over the issue of support for pipelines, calling her defeat a “difficult loss” from which “we don’t benefit in any way.”

He was also asked about the party’s prospects in the fall election, given the loss so far of 13 NDP MPs, all of whom have said they won’t be running again. It’s a number that includes a number of high-profile party veterans.

READ MORE: NDP MP Nathan Cullen not running in the 2019 federal election

“I’m not concerned about that,” Singh said when asked whether the exodus of one-quarter of his MPs could signal a problem with his leadership.

“Not at all. These are all MPs who are going to continue to contribute, who’ve said they believe in our vision.”

WATCH BELOW: Jagmeet Singh says he’ll still feel comfortable in Quebec despite controversial secularism bill

Last month, longtime NDP MP and electoral reform advocate Nathan Cullen announced he would not run again.

That came just days after a similar announcement from another senior figure in the party benches, Murray Rankin, which came roughly two weeks after two Quebec NDP MPs said they would also not be seeking re-election: Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet and Anne Minh-Thu Quach.

READ MORE: Victoria MP Murray Rankin leaving federal politics, more NDP politicians could be on the way

In the months prior, Alberta MP Linda Duncan, Ontario MPs Irene Mathyssen and David Christopherson, Quebec MPs Tom Mulcair, Helene Laverdiere and Romeo Saganash, and B.C. MPs Kennedy Stewart, Sheila Malcolmson and Fin Donnelly had also all said they would not run again.

Mulcair, Malcolmson and Stewart have already resigned and are not finishing out their terms as MPs.

Singh won the NDP leadership vote in October 2017 but did not win a seat in Parliament until February 2019.

He was elected as MP for the B.C. riding of Burnaby South, where he says he will run again in the fall election.

READ MORE: NDP loses two more incumbents as Quebec MPs say they won’t run for re-election

Singh had previously been the NDP MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton.

There had been speculation leading up to his run for the Burnaby South riding that he might look to run if a byelection were to be held in Brampton East, the nearby riding represented federally by former Liberal and now Independent Raj Grewal.

Singh’s brother was provincially elected as the NDP MPP for Brampton East in last year.

The NDP candidate for the federal riding has not yet been nominated, but Singh says he is not planning to shift gears for a run in his hometown.

“I’ve committed to run again in Burnaby South and I’m excited to represent the people, but I’m going to be running a strong campaign everywhere,” he said when asked about Brampton East. “Brampton is particularly important for me. It’s where I’ve got lots of deep ties, and we’re going to have a strong campaign there with lots of excellent candidates.”

WATCH BELOW: Jagmeet Singh demands public inquiry into handling of SNC-Lavalin affair

There are a little over 40 confirmed NDP candidates in place with just six months left until the federal election

That translates to roughly 12 per cent of its slate in place, compared to the Greens, Liberals and Conservatives, which have 70, around 170 and 226 confirmed candidates ready to vie for the 338 federal seats coming up for grabs.

But Singh said the Liberals are facing bigger problems than he is, given the questions being raised about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership in the wake of his ejection of former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould and former Treasury Board president Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus.

Both spoke out against his handling of the allegations of attempted political interference at the heart of the SNC-Lavalin affair and were turfed as a result.

Singh, who faced an uphill battle to get traction without a seat in the House of Commons, added he hopes the release of a new book about him this week will help Canadians get a clearer picture of his life and values ahead of the election.

Love & Courage: My Story of Family, Resilience, and Overcoming the Unexpected releases on Tuesday.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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