Sources tell The Chronicle that former Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is working quietly behind the scenes to architect a merger between her party and Jagmeet Singh‘s New Democratic Party with the intention of “uniting, re-energizing, and eco-branding the political left” as the ‘Green Democrats’.
May, who continues to lead the Greens in the House of Commons but has resigned her national leadership role, is renewing her call on former Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to serve as Leader of that bloc.
Singh’s leadership of the NDP has been lackluster, with a fundraising operation performing at a paltry sum compared to that of his predecessor, Tom Mulcair. The party’s caucus in Parliament collapsed in last October’s federal elections, and the brand proved flatly uncompetitive in Quebec and the Greater Toronto Area.
“Voters will become increasingly comfortable with Jagmeet in time, as he becomes an increasingly familiar figure to more and more Canadians, but he’s not there yet,” explains an operative familiar with May’s thinking. “Nobody believes he can stand up to Justin Trudeau — and given the PM’s weaknesses, that’s failing to meet a very low bar.”
May believes that Wilson-Raybould’s leadership would allow the organized left to project a more moderate tone that appeals to a broader swath of the political center — as Mulcair had seemed to achieve during his time as Leader of the Official Opposition.
May believes the Liberal Party of Canada has been badly tarnished by corruption scandals and lackluster leadership on issues of public ethics, democratic reform, and foreign aid — leaving the political center ripe for the taking. Wilson-Raybould’s leadership could also drive up support among women voters and in indigenous communities, which could swing dozens of closely contested seats in the House of Commons.
Long time Ottawa-based political operatives say that Jagmeet Singh made an enormous strategic error in allowing the Prime Minister to suspend Parliament. Justin Trudeau’s minority government could have been pressed to make progress on a number of fronts including protecting press freedoms, electoral reform, and missing indigenous women.
Instead, the two men opted for a long and leafy summer vacation.
Singh ceded his party’s influence without securing any policy concessions, enabling Trudeau to prepare to for a snap election early this fall. Needless to say, party members are livid — and if Trudeau is successful in securing a majority government, the NDP will be made even more irrelevant.
But a united left, they argue, would throw a wrench in Trudeau’s plans — making a united bloc more likely to gain seats against the Liberals in the Greater Toronto Area — where the Trudeau government’s state funded media apparatus is headquartered.