New NDP leader could be named Sunday: here’s what you need to know

After months of campaigning and debates, the party's leadership race is finally approaching the finish line. Here's how it works.

The results of the first round of voting in the NDP leadership race will be known Oct. 1. Pictured, from left to right, the four leadership candidates: Jagmeet Singh, Niki Ashton, Charlie Angus, and Guy Caron. The Hill Times photographs by Andrew Meade and file photo

PUBLISHED :Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 2:07 PM

The NDP could have a new leader by the end of the weekend. Or we could be bracing for the next twist in what has already been an unpredictable race.

The race to succeed Thomas Mulcair (Outremont, Que.), who failed a leadership review in April 2016, is finally approaching the finish line after months of vigorous campaigning and a series of debates.

This weekend marks the end of the first round of voting in the race, meaning a new leader could be crowned as early as Sunday afternoon.

Each of the four remaining candidates has tried to show they are the best bulwark against the governing Liberals, who managed to draw progressive support away from the NDP in the last election.


Leadership candidate Guy Caron speaks with Emilie Taman, a former NDP candidate for Ottawa-Vanier, at the party’s leadership showcase in Hamilton, Ont., on Sept. 17. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

The stylish and flashy Jagmeet Singh, the only candidate without a seat in the House, has done his best to channel late NDP leader Jack Layton’s hope-and-love mantra, presenting himself as the sole candidate capable of growing the party beyond its dedicated base, including making inroads with in visible-minority communities, including in the vote-rich Toronto and Vancouver areas. Mr. Singh represents a Brampton riding in the Ontario Provincial Parliament. 

Candidate Niki Ashton, pictured speaking at the NDP leadership showcase Sept. 17, has attempted to position herself as the best candidate to bring the party back to its roots on the left. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay, Ont.) has framed himself as the outsider candidate, touting his grassroots connections and distaste for the Ottawa establishment, succinctly summed up in a recent advertisement in which he said he didn’t come to the nation’s capital to “hang out on the shrimp cocktail circuit,” but to “speak for people being written off” the country’s economic and political map. He represents a riding in northeastern Ontario.  

Niki Ashton (Churchill-Keewatinook Aski, Man.) has also channelled that “fight the power” theme in her unabashedly left-wing campaign, promising to aggressively champion progressive ideas if elected leader, including fighting creeping privatization. Ms. Ashton has sought to position herself as the most progressive of the bunch, and has frequently called on the NDP to move more towards the left on policy. Ms. Ashton represents northern Manitoba in the House. 

Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh NDP, pictured Sept. 17, has tried to make himself out to be the growth candidate. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Finally, Guy Caron (Rimouski Neigette-Témiscouata-Les Basques, Que.) is the sole candidate from Quebec. Mr. Caron previously worked as a labour economist and has largely centred his campaign on support for a minimum national income, attracting significant support from establishment NDP figures in the process. Mr. Caron represents a riding in eastern Quebec. 


But we’ve been inundated with ambitious campaign statements for months. Here’s how the sausage gets made at the end of the race.

Voting timeline

Friday marks the first major voting milestone in the race, as all mail-in ballots must be received by 5 p.m. today to count for the first round of voting. Online voting runs until 2 p.m. on Oct. 1. A half hour later, the results are set to be released during an announcement event at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle hotel. 

But if none of the four candidates receive more than 50 per cent of the votes, then the second round of voting starts on Oct. 2, with the lowest-scoring leadership hopeful bounced from the ballot.

Online voting for that second round will run until Oct. 8. If no one breaks through the majority threshold again, the third and final round goes from Oct. 9 to 15, after which the new leader will be unveiled.


If needed, results for the second round of voting will be revealed at the Palais des congrès de Montréal from 2 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 8. The results of the final round of voting, if necessary, will be unveiled at Ottawa’s Shaw Centre at the same time on Oct. 15.

Charlie Angus, pictured with supporters Sept. 17, is trying to frame himself as the candidate fighting for the little guy. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

Who votes and how are votes tabulated?

All NDP members in good standing as of Aug. 17 are eligible to vote through a preferential, ranked-choice ballot. This means voters rank the four candidates by preference.

A simple majority of votes is required to win. No riding-level or regional elements factor into the voting process.

Online or mail?

NDP members have the option of either mailing in their ballots or voting online.

If members opt to vote by mail, they cannot change their ranked preference of candidates in between rounds, even if their top choice is eliminated.

Online voters, though, can change their choices in between rounds.

The Hill Times