In conversations about who the next Ontario NDP Leader after Andrea Horwath might be, the names Catherine Fife and Jagmeet Singh almost invariably come up.
It’s probably worth mentioning, then, that there are people suggesting both those MPPs – neither of whom has been at Queen’s Park very long – are at risk of losing their seats this election.
In the case of Ms. Fife, New Democrats themselves are acknowledging she’s in a tough fight to hold on to the Kitchener-Waterloo riding she won in a 2012 by-election. The former school-board chair has been a standout member of the NDP’s caucus since winning that race – among other things helping lead her party’s efforts to recruit other candidates. But her local profile and popularity won’t count for quite as much in a general election, and there’s at least some prospect of the Progressive Conservatives reclaiming the seat that Elizabeth Witmer long held for them previously.
With Mr. Singh, it’s more the Liberals who are doing the speculating. His Bramalea-Gore-Malton seat should be safer than Ms. Fife’s, since the charismatic 35-year-old lawyer won it during the last general election and has been very visible since. But the Liberals seem to think that they’re cutting into the New Democrats’ Greater Toronto Area support to give them a legitimate chance of reclaiming the only suburban riding Ms. Horwath’s party currently holds, and insist their internal polling backs that up.
Mr. Singh is such a force of nature that it’s frankly difficult to imagine him not winning again. But if he or Ms. Fife were to lose, it would be a big blow to the NDP – the sort that, if it were in the context of disappointing province-wide results, could ironically help trigger a leadership race.