Several senior members of the NDP's federal counterpart warned NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in June that he will not be able to stand as party leader if he misses next month's election in Burnaby South, according to CBC News.
Two new Democratic MPs, who spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity, were among a small group of bench members who met with Singh last summer to tell him that a defeat in the February 25 election would lead to overwhelming pressure to that he renounced. . They are among a group of nine NDP deputies who tell CBC News they believe Singh would have no choice but to resign if he did not win his seat next month.
"We told him to come in June when this was being planned … that if you do, that's all in. It's not like you expect to win this thing. a member of parliament to CBC News.
"That's understood. There may be some revisionist history going on if it does not win."
An old NDP strategist agrees.
"If you lose an election, if you can not win in the People's Republic of Burnaby, where can you win?" said Karl Bélanger, former national director of the NDP and former chief secretary of former leader Tom Mulcair.
"I think Mr. Singh knows this, and I think he's trying to show everyone that he's going to win the position and then lead the party in the next election."
The June meeting took place in an isolated commission room in the basement of Parliament Hill's central block in the week when the House of Commons was postponed for summer vacation.
An all-in bet
Sources told CBC News that the NDP leader agreed at the meeting that running in the election would be an all-in bet. Singh, according to sources, said he was confident of a victory he believed to be in his campaign element in the community.
"So if he fails at his best, in a part of the country we have to do well – British Columbia in general and Vancouver in particular – I do not know what their argument is for Singh to continue as a leader," he said. NDP MP senior said.
Speaking to CBC News on Friday, Singh left aside questions about what he could do if he lost his proposed election, insisting he's in a good position to win.
"I'm not focused on myself and I know that if we work hard, we will win here," he said. "We're going to win at Burnaby South because people need us."
If Singh agrees in particular that he can not continue if he can not secure a job at Commons next month, that contradicts his public position on the matter. In an interview with Rosemary Barton that aired on CBC The National on January 20, Singh insisted he would continue as leader, even if he lost the Feb. 25 vote.
"I will be the leader who leads the New Democratic Party in the 2019 election," Singh said. "I am confident that we will do well in this riding. We are connecting with people, we are receiving a lot of support."
In total, CBC and Radio-Canada have contacted more than half of the 40 NDP staff members. Not all the members of the bank contacted by CBC News responded, but most of those who spoke to CBC said they feel confident that Singh will win.
What happens if he loses?
Five declined to comment on what they called a "hypothetical" scenario. Two members of the bench expressed their full support for Singh. Some have said that they believe that the decision to stay or go rests with them.
Members of the caucus are not the only ones who say that Singh should go if he fails in Burnaby Some unconvinced veterans of the New Democrat campaigns agree – although at least one is pointing out that Singh's departure may be the result of a confusing process.
"First, a group of elders from the party would advise him that the time had come. If he resisted, a caucus vote – not binding, but humiliating," said the party strategist, who asked not to be identified. "Then a vote by the Federal Council of the NDP.
"Choosing your time to go gives him the benefit of a graceful way out." Being pushed means that he would end with sadness. Given the weakened (election) liberal campaign, I doubt he will. "
The Liberals recently beat Richard T. Lee, a former bachelor. legislator, to run in the riding after its first candidate, Karen Wang, resigned from the post of a controversial campaign urging the Chinese people to vote for her as the "only" Chinese candidate.
CBC News learned, however, that the NDP is working on several contingency plans that can take effect if Singh fails in Burnaby South.
Plans B, C and beyond
If, for example, Singh loses and immediately departs as a leader, one option would be to immediately stage a leadership contest – much like the one that quickly met in Ontario after Patrick Brown was forced to resign as a progressive conservative leader over allegations of bad sexual conduct.
But the federal NDP is in a very different place now than the Ontario PCs were last year, when they staged the leadership poll that ended up picking Doug Ford as a Brown substitute.
The provincial PCs led the research at the time; According to the CBC Poll Tracker, federal PND support is only 14.2% nationally. The Conservatives of Ontario had staged a major war by the time Brown left and could easily pay for a convention. The federal NDP, meanwhile, continues to fight fundraising.
Another option might see the caucus pick an interim leader. Two names were suggested in NDP circles as potential interim leaders: B.C. MP Nathan Cullen and Quebec Deputy Guy Caron.
Any caucus-appointed interim leader would have to be approved by the federal council before leading the party in the general election, which would be followed by a leadership race – the only way for a permanent leader to be chosen under party rules.
Some members of the caucus have mapped out what they consider to be an elegant exit for Singh: to offer him the position of vice-leader and lieutenant of Ontario and to let him compete in Brampton East, an area he represented provincially. Singh could later run again for the leadership of the party, strengthened politically for having secured a seat in the House of Commons.
Belanger said that if Singh lost at Burnaby South and tried to remain a party leader, the only way to remove him would be through a leadership review.
But leadership reviews happen at party conventions – and the NDP has no scheduled convention until after the federal fall elections. To provoke a leadership review, a special convention would need to be called. It could only be called by the federal council of the NDP or at the request of most of the federal federations.
One NDP strategist – who also asked not to be identified – is skeptical about the option of the special convention: "Part of me does not have faith in these people to bring a knife to the fight.
"These people have a challenge to face in the fact that this leader received an overwhelming vote of members in the first scrutiny (in the leadership race) and that this vote strengthened in February 2018 with overwhelming support of all members of one participated immensely of the convention here in Ottawa, when he got 92.8% (support). "
Preparing for the worst
Former NDP MP candidate and in 2012, Peggy Nash, said that those working on a contingency plan to take effect if Singh's losing at Burnaby South are simply making the obvious.
"I like playing chess and I always think of a few moves ahead and I always have back-up plans. I think it's just good sound management to want to have contingency plans for whatever happens," Nash said.
B.C. NDP member Don Davies said he was confident that Singh will take his seat next month and that his presence in the House of Commons will strengthen his leadership. "I'm looking forward to having a lot of benefits, including our fundraising, and our overall survey numbers," he said. "I think everything will be better as soon as Jagmeet is in the house.
"There has been a lot of attention to what happens if he does not win. I think the only fair result of when he wins is that it should end this conversation that is happening."