UPDATED 16th May 2017

At a Brampton banquet hall Monday, Ontario New Democrat MPP and GQ poster boy Jagmeet Singh launched his federal leadership bid, jumping into the race which has so far crawled under the radar for the vast majority of Canadians.

It may come as something of a revelation, but there is a contest to lead the NDP underway and its top four contenders before Monday night were federal caucus members Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton, Peter Julian and Guy Caron.

All bring strengths to the table, particularly Angus, with his tireless and effective work on indigenous issues that have so far received more lip service than action from the Trudeau Liberals.

But none of them are going to burn their brand into Canadian sensibilities or set hearts aflutter.

Singh, a lawyer, was elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2011.

Singh gives Canadians outside the party a reason to look in the NDP window to see what is on offer.

If nothing else, the trilingual Singh will inject some colour into a decidedly vanilla race, bringing some bright orange energy to a beige entity puttering along in the slow lane.

“Nobody should be made to feel like they don’t belong,” Singh said.


Ontario deputy NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is poised to launch a bid for federal leadership next week, The Canadian Press has learned.

Sources familiar with Singh’s plans say he will make the announcement at the Bombay Palace in Brampton, Ont., on Monday night – the venue where he held an election party in 2011 when he entered provincial politics.

They also say his campaign will be led by Michal Hay, executive assistant to Toronto city councillor Michael Layton – the son of late federal NDP leader Jack Layton.

Supporters note Singh is also backed by other New Democrats, including Manitoba legislature member Nahanni Fontaine, party youth wing co-chair Ali Chatur, Quebec organizer and former Layton speech writer Willy Blomme and Peel school board trustee Harkirat Singh.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath named Singh as the party’s deputy leader in 2015.

Singh, a 38-year-old criminal defence lawyer and turbaned Sikh, was named deputy to Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in spring 2015.

At the time of the announcement, Horwath said Singh had been a “dynamic force” in politics, adding he increased political participation among young people who viewed him as a community leader and mentor.

Inside the provincial wing of the NDP, Horwath also acknowledged Singh’s work to push for provincial reductions of auto insurance rates and improving awareness around precarious employment fuelled by temporary job agencies.

Singh, regarded as a young and energetic leader, has also received nods from Toronto Life magazine on its lists of “50 Most Influential” and “Toronto’s Best Dressed.”

There are four official candidates in the lengthy race to replace Tom Mulcair as NDP leader in October.

Current contenders include B.C. MP Peter Julian, Ontario MP Charlie Angus, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton and Quebec MP Guy Caron.

First-quarter results from Elections Canada indicate Angus is far ahead of his competition on the fundraising front.

The report, which notes contributions from January to March 2017, showed Angus brought in more than $110,675, Ashton had $65,521, Caron had $57,235 and Julian raised $19,143.08.

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