New Federal NDP Leader

Jagmeet Singh new federal NDP leader

As the first ballot results were announced at the Metropolitan Ballroom in the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto, Jagmeet Singh easily garnered votes, surpassing the 50% required to win the leadership of the New Democratic Party of Canada.

Earning 35,266 votes, good for 53.8%, the next closest candidate was Charlie Angus at 12,705, followed by Niki Ashton (11,374), and Guy Caron (6,164).

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. His campaign was inspirational and touched on many issues that are important to Canadians. "That's why as Prime Minister, I will make sure that no one in Canada is stopped by the police just because of the way they look or the colour of their skin". His brother, Gurratan Singh, who played a key role in the campaign, told the Hindustan Times this was "the accumulation of all our work and the real hard work starts right now".

Singh has said he will consider running in a byelection prior to the next election, but he has assured members he will use the time outside of the Commons to work on rebuilding the party and meeting with supporters.

NDP supporters hope Singh's victory will bolster the party after it finished a disappointing third in the 2015 federal elections behind Trudeau's Liberals and the Conservative Party.

Mulcair, who took over the party in 2012, carried on his shoulders the party's long-standing dream of forming a federal government for the first time.

The party hopes it can seriously rebuild itself now with an eye on fundraising with a permanent leader in place, especially because it is carrying $5.5. million worth of debt.

Popularly called Jagmeet Singh, the 38-year old Jiu-Jitsu expert who was featured in GQ magazine for his style, and sports brightly colored pink, blue and yellow turbans, beat out three opponents to become the first ever "visible" minority to lead a party, though Indo-Canadians including Sikhs, have been among the oldest immigrants to Canada arriving here more than one hundred years ago.

"Between now and the national convention that we will have in February, he'll be in every province and every territory, he'll be travelling across the country ... to communicate his message and the party's values". 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.

As the hall erupted in a roar of support for Singh's victory, the lawyer by training said it was an "incredibly profound honor" to be elected. It makes you feel like you don't belong and there is something with you for just being you.

Belanger also sees a byelection in Quebec as a pressing issue for the new leader to take on.

Singh said he plans to meet individually with MPs beginning Monday in Ottawa, noting he plans to resign his provincial seat immediately.

He will lead the NDP from outside the House of Commons until he can run for election at the federal level.



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