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No seat likely to come Jagmeet Singh's way before 2019 unless one is offered to him

No seat likely to come Jagmeet Singh's way before 2019 unless one is offered to him
From CBC - January 9, 2018

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has made it clear he is comfortable not running for a seat in the House of Commons before the 2019 federal election. But he has opened the door to running in a byelectionin a riding in which he has a "genuine connection" and which "makes sense."

Singh has laid out the criteria. So where could he run in 2018 if the opportunity presents itselfand where could he win?

In an interview with CBC Radio's The House, Singh told host Chris Hall,"I amcomfortable where I am right now and I am open, though, to an opportunity that arises that I have a genuine connection to that makes sense."

Asked to definewhat that means, Singh identified three parts of the country, all in southern Ontario.

"An area that I have some history with, an area that I can connect with constituents," he said. "I have represented Brampton, Mississauga for a number of years. Downtown Toronto is an area that I have a strong connection to. Windsor, also, I have a strong connection, having lived in Windsor for a number of years."

In each of theseregions, there are seats that are potentially winnable for Singh and the NDP. But there are also a few obstacles that might force him to wait.

With NDP support stagnant and the party posting losses in all six of the byelections that have occurred duringSingh's short tenure, whether he can afford to wait is an open question.

Connection to Brampton

Singh was first elected for the Ontario NDP in the riding of BramaleaGoreMalton, a riding straddling parts of both Brampton and Mississauga, in the 2011 provincial election. The bulk of that riding is contained within the federal boundaries of Brampton East, the seat that Singh has identified as the one he will most likely contest in 2019.

Defeatingincumbent Liberal MP Raj Grewalwill not be easy. Grewal won by a margin of more than 29 percentage points over both the Conservative and NDP candidates.

But Singh has shown he can beat daunting odds. The New Democrats had just 12 per cent support in the 2007 provincial election in BramaleaGoreMalton. Singh boosted that score to 38 per cent four years later and 44 per cent in 2014.

This suggests that a low score for the NDP in a previous election might not be an insurmountable obstacle for Singh in Brampton. But Brampton East might be his best hope for a victory. In addition to his history in the riding, it was the one with the highest NDP support in Brampton in 2015 and the only one in which the NDP was even somewhat competitive.

The question is, however, whether he might get the opportunity to demonstrate his local connections in a byelection in 2018. The Liberals hold all five Brampton seats and all six seats in Mississauga (where the NDP'schances look even slimmer, as theylost all sixby 39 points or more in 2015).

The five Brampton Liberal MPs are all in their first term. Barring health issues, scandal or tragedy, none of their seatsare likely to become available before the next federal election.

Options,but few opportunities

Windsor makes sense but it's taken

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