By Veeno Dewan
New Democratic Party leadership candidate Martin Singh said he would direct his supporters to make Montreal MP Thomas Mulcair their second choice in the leadership battle which culminates on March 24.
He is urging his supporters, many from the Indo-Canadian community, to visit his offices or Sikh temples to get help in casting their ballot. However questions have been raised of possible collusion between Mulcair and Singh which Singh denies. Singh is expected to be eliminated in the final round of voting according to NDP insiders.
Singh, a convert to Sikhism from Nova Scotia is a pharmacist and businessman. He has mounted a good campaign in many people eyes and had assiduously courted the influential Indo Canadian community and even opened a campaign office in the heart of the South Asian community in Scott Road, Delta.
However he may be undone nationally. Recently it was revealed that Singh’s former top B.C. organizer in the Indo-Canadian community, had switched to the Mulcair camp and was encouraging people to vote for Mulcair.
“It’s not surprising that Mr. Singh has made this announcement,” said Jim Rutkowski, spokesman for candidate Brian Topp. He added, “In recent days serious questions have been raised about collusion between the two campaigns that have not been adequately addressed.”
Another NDP leadership contestant Peggy Nash also issued a statement asking questions on the relationship between the Mulcair and Singh campaigns.
“It’s perfectly acceptable for a candidate to express who they think the second best option is. I think the problem is whether or not Mr. Singh is actively helping Mr. Mulcair,” Nash said. “At the Montreal debate he made out-of-character remarks against Brian Topp and me, and again this past weekend in Vancouver he was uncharacteristically combative and then refused to participate in media scrums post-debate on both occasions.”
Nash noted that