Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Political Science Political Parties

From Layton to Singh

The 20-year struggle for the NDP’s soul

by (author) Matt Fodor

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Political Parties, General, History & Theory
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


On the surface the story of the federal NDP in the 21st century can be told as a story of its leaders — the optimism of the Jack Layton era; the disappointment of Tom Mulcair, the energizing popularity of Jagmeet Singh with young voters. But the real story is the ongoing internal power and ideological conflict between social democrats and Orange liberals. 

Author Matt Fodor describes how, over 20 years, centrists gradually consolidated their power, turning the party to the right. He highlights how the tensions have played out as activists drawn to socialist ideals contend with card-carrying party members chasing political power. 

The NDP’s low point came with the disastrous 2015 election when Trudeau’s Liberals outflanked the NDP on the left. Matt Fodor describes the impact on the party of Jagmeet Singh’s leadership, from its rocky first days to the campaigns of 2019 and 2021 and the role the party has played in minority Parliaments. He offers an account of the changes that would allow the federal party to hew more closely to the ideals and beliefs of its members.

Fodor bases his narrative on sources including party insiders and defectors alike.


About the author

MATT FODOR is a writer, political strategist and PhD candidate in political science at York University. His research areas are Comparative politics and Canadian politics with a special interest in social democracy. Matt is a long-time observer of the NDP and has written extensively about the party at the federal and provincial level, including a review of NDP platforms 1988–2011 in Party of Conscience (2013) and a chapter in Tax is Not a Four-Letter Word (2018). He studied with renowned Canadian political economist Leo Panitch at York University, receiving his MA in 2005. He has contributed to NOW, Rabble and The Bullet. He lives in Toronto.

Matt Fodor's profile page