Once the NDP is back in the black and on safe financial footing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Singh start to put a safe distance between his party and the governing Liberals, who have demonstrated an inability in recent months to strike a cohesive message on the economic issues currently plaguing cash-strapped Canadians. Photo Credit: Jagmeet Singh/Twitter.
For nearly two years, political pundits and analysts have looked at the Liberal and NDP supply-and-confidence agreement as a key benchmark to try and predict the timing of the next election. As it stands, if both parties remain aligned on the stated goals, Canadians won’t head to the polls until 2025.
In exchange for key commitments on healthcare, dental care and pharmacare, the NDP have played the role of a willing dance partner to keep the minority Liberal government in power.
After striking the deal in the spring of 2022, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said, “I’m going into this with a strong belief that we are going to continue to fight hard, and we are going to force these results for Canadians. We’re going to make sure people get the support they need.”
The agreement has always been publicly pitched as a way for the NDP to influence the outcome of public policy from the sidelines. And if that has indeed been the goal, Singh deserves some credit for meeting the objective.
While the Liberal government failed to make good on tabling pharmacare legislation by the end of 2023 deadline, billions of dollars have been allocated to NDP priorities in the last two federal budgets. Moreover, there has also been no real indication from either party that the deal is in jeopardy of being (proverbially) torn up, which is a win in and of itself.
At the end of the month, parliament will resume for the spring session. All signs point to the NDP continuing to support the government as it gets ready to table the next federal budget, but there is one big development that may dictate the party’s tone on future dealings with the Liberals. Spoiler alert: it’s all about the money.
Earlier this week, NDP staffer Anne McGrath hinted that the NDP is close to paying off its debt accumulated during last federal election. While every political party takes on debt to fund the expenses that come with running a national campaign, the NDP are well behind the Conservatives and Liberals in fundraising prowess. They have yet to make good on the $22 million dollar debt that had been accumulated during the 2021 writ period.
As it stands, the NDP have less than $1 million left to pay back. According to McGrath, this will happen in the coming months, and it means Singh and his party can finally start focusing on building a war chest for the next election and preparing to run a full slate of candidates from coast to coast.
Once the NDP is back in the black and on safe financial footing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Singh start to put a safe distance between his party and the governing Liberals, who have demonstrated an inability in recent months to strike a cohesive message on the economic issues currently plaguing cash-strapped Canadians.
Financial freedom is as important to political leaders as it is to the households trying to balance their books. It might not spell the immediate demise of the agreement that keeps the Liberal government in power, but it certainly gives the NDP better options than they have now.
Josie Sabatino is a Senior Consultant at Summa Strategies, focused on providing strategic insight and helping clients meet their objectives in an ever changing and complex political and regulatory environment. Prior to joining Summa, Josie spent nearly a decade in political communications and most recently served as the Director of Communications to the Hon. Erin O’Toole, former Leader of the Official Opposition.