Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leadership 2012 Candidate Analysis - Martin Singh

Let's turn to the second candidate to be reviewed as a contender for the NDP's leadership. Martin Singh still looks to trail most of his competitors in the leadership campaign, but has undoubtedly raised his profile both inside and outside the party. So what would we expect if he were leader?

1. What direction will he set for the NDP?

Singh hasn't had to answer many questions about his organizational philosophy. And so the main information we have on this point comes from his platform and debate messaging.

On that front, Singh has been quite clear that he's concerned about appealing to business with a particular focus on entrepreneurship, while building those interests into his other platform planks on health care and the environment. Which means that he ranks further to the right than any other candidate in his core message.

2. How will he respond when pushed off course?

And how we've heard that core message throughout the campaign. Singh gets credit for knowing what he wants to say and repeating it, but he's taken even the most basic questions on unrelated issues as an invitation to launch into his platform. Which means that we don't much know how he'd respond in substance to a serious challenge to position.

3. How do his personal traits affect his ability to reach the destination implied by the answer to question 1?

Singh has impressed some by holding his own in debates against far more experienced politicians, and his claimed membership numbers certainly look impressive as a measure of his ability to win over first-choice followers. But he hasn't stood out as a performer among the field of contenders, and wouldn't figure to have any particular advantage under this question either.


Singh has nicely laid out the groundwork for a future as a relatively centrist NDP MP. But based on his inexperience and the limited scope of his leadership campaign, it's likely for the best that he's in the lower tier of candidates for now.

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