Aug. 29, 2021

Can Singh charm his way to electoral success?

Two weeks into the federal election campaign and some interesting patterns are beginning to develop. And it’s enlightening.

There are polls to gauge the mood of the voters, but it has been interesting to see the party leaders glad-handing the electorate, how they perform in front of the cameras, how they come across in public. It’s totally unscientific, of course.

To date, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has stood out based on the charm factor. It’s not based on the policies and issues Singh has been espousing, but the way he has presented them.

He’s been driving the goodie truck across the country offering candy to anyone and everyone – free prescription drugs, housing subsidies, outlawing corporate ownership of seniors facilities and more. Singh has not looked at any balance sheet – the outcome has to balance with the income, but that doesn’t matter in an election campaign.

Singh comes across as the guy you’d like to sit down and have a beer with, and that wins elections. The average of latest national polls indicates the possibility of the NDP picking up a considerable number of seats.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has been polishing his approach of late but his military background translates as a real stiffness in the campaign. He has loosened up a bit of late. As much as some people want to punt Trudeau into history, O’Toole is stepping on the toes of many old-line Conservatives and they don’t forgive and forget.

Much of the opposition to Trudeau has been about the coronavirus pandemic, carbon taxes, climate change, charity scandals and the Afghan evacuation disaster, not to mention his “woke” philosophy, and charity scandals. But that’s where O’Toole has been wandering. The question is whether O’Toole is overcoming the “Liberal Lite” label that dogged him during the opening days of the campaign.

On the other hand, the Liberals are faltering in opinion polls. Trudeau has had to cancel some of his rallies due to hostile crowds and what was announced as safety concerns.

Now, having interpreted what the public is seeing on television, there’s the harsh reality in the opinion polls. runs a daily average of all major polls. Their latest one this morning has the Conservatives projected to be ahead in 143 ridings, a pickup of 22 more than they had in the last Parliament. The NDP projection is 34 seats, an increase of ten. It looks gloomy for the Liberals with a projection of 137 seats, down 19. The Green Party is projected at one seat. The end result would be another minority government.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith polls have Conservatives at 29 per cent, Green at 28, NDP at 27 per cent and the Liberals at 12. It’s a bit of a surprise – the 2019 election, Paul Manly of the Greens won handily with 34.5 per cent of the vote while John Hirst of the Conservatives was second with 25.9 per cent and the NDP’s Bob Chamberlin with 23.6 per cent.

Keep in mind, moods can swing in an instant, Liberals support has skidded a couple of percentage point in just days. The only poll that counts is the one on election day but it makes it interesting for pundits and party supporters.