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A Loss for the Left in Canada?

How the New Democratic Party Lost Steam

New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Tom Mulcair and his wife Catherine board their campaign plane in Toronto, October 18, 2015. Jim Young / Reuters

“Canada: the country you think of so little … that’s it, end of sentence,” quipped John Oliver, host of the satirical HBO program “Last Week Tonight,” on the eve of Canada’s 42nd federal election. As Oliver correctly observed, Canadian politics rarely generate much outside attention. Yet all that changed the next day, when the gregarious and charismatic Justin Trudeau led the Liberal Party to a resounding parliamentary win. The Guardian hailed the victory as a “big political shift to the center-left”; The Atlantic’s David Frum opined that Trudeau “repudiated” the “neoliberal Liberals of the 1990s”; and The Nation’s Washington correspondent John Nichols even called on American Democrats to “learn something” from the Liberal Party's example. 

It isn’t hard to understand why this win was seen as a victory for the left. Many Canadians had grown weary of nine years of conservative rule under Prime Minister Stephen

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