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Jagmeet Singh, the Canadian candidate who dusted off political communication on TikTok

With his dancing, skateboarding and even hairdressing videos, he could almost pass for an influencer like any other on TikTok. With one small difference: Jagmeet Singh is the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, running for the legislative elections on September 20. And its presence on this social network, where 800,000 people are subscribed to its account, guarantees its campaign slogans a choice exposure to the young electorate:

“People, where are they? They are on social networks. I try to use all possible tools to connect with them. “

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Further to the left than the Liberals of the outgoing Prime Minister, the New Democratic Party (NDP) could find itself after the election in a position of strength in the House of Commons in the event of a minority government led, again, by Justin Trudeau.

He is currently credited with around 20% of voting intentions when the Liberal Party and Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives are neck and neck at less than 35%. Before the dissolution of Parliament, the NDP was the fourth political force, with 24 seats.

“Singh embodies, with his presence on social networks, the youth and the breath of fresh air that Trudeau had a few years ago. And what sets him apart from the others is his use of TikTok ”, believes Félix Mathieu, political scientist at the University of Winnipeg.

“I am not Justin Trudeau”

And on the ideas side, it is also on the lands of Justin Trudeau that the leader of the NDP is hunting, who believes that the outgoing Prime Minister is “A great talker but a little doer” on the environmental level.

He pledged to tax the rich more, cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, write off student loan debt and tackle house prices and the housing shortage. social.

To mark his difference even more, he does not hesitate to recall his career:

“I am not Justin Trudeau. I am not like him. I have lived a different life. I understand the pain of being underappreciated. ”

Born in Ontario to parents from the province of Punjab in northern India, Jagmeet Singh is Sikh and can be recognized by his long beard and brightly colored turbans. He was the first member of a so-called visible minority to chair a party of federal stature.

On TikTok, many are not of voting age

“It helps him get known, with a smaller budget than the Liberals, for example. But will this result in a vote? It’s really not certain ”, analysis Félix Mathieu. On TikTok, “A large part of the followers are not yet old enough to vote”, he adds.

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And on September 20, unlike the last two ballots, “There will be no voting on campuses due to the pandemic and that is a bad sign for the NDP”, estimates Geneviève Tellier, political scientist at the University of Ottawa.

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All this campaign on social networks and its appearance in the Nintendo game “Animal Crossing” have “Leads millions of people to watch our content and get involved”, says Emily Coutts, of the candidate’s campaign team. Electoral gains, according to her, but also in terms of “Volunteers and supporters engaged in the field”.

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