World TikTok star Jagmeet Singh courts youth vote in Canada election
New Democrats' Singh looks to dance his way to role as Canada's kingmaker
New Democrats' Singh looks to dance his way to role as Canada's kingmakerWINNIPEG/VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Sporting dance moves on TikTok videos in his signature neon turbans, the leader of Canada's left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP), Jagmeet Singh, is poised to recover from a 2019 election stumble and strengthen his position as kingmaker in the country's next government.
As soon as his news conference ends, Jagmeet Singh pulls out his phone, gathers the crowd for an Instagram video and leads them in song, jumping and spinning in place while filming.
As he campaigns ahead of next week's snap elections, Singh, the 42-year-old leader of Canada's leftist New Democratic Party (NDP), is looking to embody a new way of doing politics. And by relying heavily on social media he hopes to woo young voters who once helped propel Prime Minister Justin Trudeau into office.
Canada leaders kick off final day of campaign, polls suggest Trudeau has edge
Canada leaders kick off final day of campaign, polls suggest Trudeau has edgeMONTREAL (Reuters) - The leaders of Canada's main political parties on Sunday kicked off the final day of campaigning ahead of Monday's election, with polls indicating that the Liberals of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold an edge.
A few hours later, he appears dancing to rap music on TikTok, where his videos typically get in excess of one million views.
"People, where are they? They are on social media. I try to use all possible tools to connect with them," says Singh.
Further to the left on the political spectrum than Trudeau's Liberals, his party could find itself holding significant sway in the House of Commons if voters return another minority Liberal government to Ottawa.
Currently, the New Democrats are credited with 20 percent of voting intentions, while Trudeau's Liberals and the Conservatives, led by rookie leader Erin O'Toole, are neck and neck with less than 35 percent support each -- below the threshold for a majority of seats in parliament.
How a 20-year-old student used TikTok to become the summer's breakout pop musician
PinkPantheress, a 20-year-old breakout TikTok star, has had a series of viral hits, with "Just for Me" climbing the UK Top 40.They were short and addictive snippets featuring a catchy hook sung over frantic drum loops. PinkPantheress spliced these mini-songs into off-the-cuff clips that usually showed her looking into the camera, sometimes while using a zany filter.
- 'Winds of change' -
"Singh embodies, with his presence on social media, the youthfulness and winds of change that helped Trudeau a few years ago, and what sets him apart from the others is his use of TikTok," Felix Mathieu, a politics professor at the University of Winnipeg, told AFP.
On the policy front, his party's plank also echoes that of the Liberals in many respects, but whereas Trudeau, according to Singh, is "a big talker and a little doer," especially in respect to climate change, he promises to deliver.
He has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, increase taxes on the rich, cancel student debts and check soaring housing prices.
"I am not Justin Trudeau. I'm not like him. I've lived a different life," Singh said during a visit to an indigenous community in Saskatchewan reeling from past federal policies that stripped them of their language and culture.
Justin Trudeau’s Fate as Prime Minister in Balance as Canada Heads to Polls
A tight race between Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Erin O’Toole could make other candidates a kingmaker.But as he called for new federal elections, a new wave of infections began sweeping across Canada. And the day of the election announcement, Aug. 15, coincided with the Taliban takeover of the Afghan capital of Kabul, an event that subsequently took over news headlines. Canadian military forces had withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2014, but Afghans who supported the country's military and diplomatic efforts remained behind.
"And I've felt some of the pain, what it's like to be considered less than (because of the way you look). I understand the pain of not being valued."
Born in Ontario to parents who fled persecution in their native India, Singh became the first non-white leader of a Canadian federal political party and is easily recognizable by his brightly coloured turbans.
"This helps him to stand out while waging an election with a smaller war chest than the Liberals, for example," Mathieu said. "But will this result in more votes, it's not clear,"
On TikTok, "a large part of his followers are not yet old enough to vote," Mathieu added.
And on September 20, unlike in past ballots, "there will be no voting on college campuses due to the pandemic and this is bad for the NDP," said Genevieve Tellier, a politics professor at the University of Ottawa.
His campaign on social media "has led millions of people to watch our content and get involved," says the NDP campaign's Emily Coutts.
That has boosted his support among eligible voters, but also attracted an army of volunteers who've gone out to campaign for him, she said.
Voters choose new Hong Kong electors under pro-Beijing laws .
HONG KONG (AP) — Select Hong Kong residents voted for members of the Election Committee that will choose the city's leader in the first polls Sunday following reforms meant to ensure candidates with Beijing loyalty. The Election Committee will select 40 of 90 lawmakers in the city’s legislature during elections in December, as well as elect the Hong Kong leader during polls in March next year. In May, the legislature amended Hong Kong’s electoral laws to ensure that only “patriots” – people who are loyal to China and the semi-autonomous territory – will rule the city.