Jagmeet Singh has reissued the feat of the late Jack Layton, on Sunday, in succeeding as him in 2003 to get elected to the head of the New democratic party (NDP) in the first round despite his status as an outsider. His campaign claimed to have signed up 47,000 of the 83,000 new members the party added during the leadership campaign, and those new members proved decisive.
Northern Ontario MP Charlie Angus, who was widely seen as Singh's closest challenger, came in second with 12,705 votes, followed by Manitoba MP Niki Ashton with 11,374 and Quebec MP Guy Caron with 6,164. "Now imagine what we can do in just two years", he said, referring to the upcoming federal election. In the 2011 general election, the party made historic gains only to lose nearly a million votes - mostly to Trudeau's Liberals - four years later.
Ottawa, Ontario (by Manjit Singh from Canada): OCT 1: Leadership hopeful, Sardar Jagmeet Singh wins the seemingly impossible race hands down, with 53.8% votes in the first round, thus creating a historic moment in the history of the NDP (New Democratic Party) of Canada.
That result eventually forced then-NDP leader Thomas Mulcair to step down. "That's what draws me to be your leader and that is what drives me to be your prime minister", he had said to the cheering gathering. "In the last election, he spoke like a New Democrat", she said, contrasting that with a list of Liberal campaign promises that have yet to be achieved.
Earlier Sunday, Singh praised his predecessor Tom Mulcair as well as his fellow candidates for helping to generate a renewed sense of excitement and vitality around the party.
With few substantive policy differences between the candidates, Singh himself became something of a focus during the leadership race.
The NDP is hoping the charismatic politician will make the party relevant again and can mount a serious challenge to Trudeau and his ruling Liberal Party.
Singh wears a turban as is traditional for Sikhs and he recently made headlines for his calm reaction to being confronted by an angry heckler who accused him of wanting to bring Sharia law to Canada even though he is not Muslim.
A crowd of his supporters, who had occupied the back third of the room, surged forward as the results were announced, while backers of the other candidates filed out along the sides of the room. "Thank you", Singh said. He cited instances of having been racially profiled and promised a federal ban on carding, and recounted a period in his 20s when he acted as his family's only earner to demonstrate his understanding of families living in precarious economic circumstances.
Before entering politics, he worked as a criminal defence lawyer in the Greater Toronto Area.