Despite NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s problems finding his footing in this election, he insisted this week that he was the champion of the millions of voters he said were duped by a Liberal prime minister Justin Trudeau who is nothing more than a progressive pretender.
Singh who is mindful of having just under 40 days to turn things around said he was confident of overcoming his party’s low standing in the polls and financial troubles — and fill its depleted roster of candidates — to come from behind and even take power, but that he is also willing to work with any party that shares his priorities if Canadians elect a minority parliament on Oct. 21.
“My target is Mr. Trudeau,” he said. “I’m running to become Prime Minister of Canada, because I believe we can make a difference in people’s lives and put people first instead of corporations.”
In his speech, Singh attacked Trudeau for failing to live up to the promises he made in 2015, when the Liberals swept to power in a majority government. He also attacked the Conservatives for being like the Liberals, accusing both of governing in the interest of powerful corporations and the wealthy.
Last Sunday Singh unveiled the party’s tour bus — covered with photos of himself and accented in the traditional orange of the party. The day before was the opening of the NDP campaign headquarters in Ottawa. Layton’s name was on everyone’s lips at the event as his widow Olivia Chow and son Mike introduced Singh to the crowd. In return he thanked them for continuing Layton’s legacy, saying his policy priorities remain with the party today.
Singh said the election question his party wants to ask voters mirrors their French slogan: “Who can you count on to fight for you?”
The party has focused its campaign on measures like lowering the cost of medications, increasing affordable housing and fighting climate change. To help pay for the multi-billion dollar reform, the party would raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians — those with wealth over $20 million annually. It also would raise corporate taxes, end fossil fuel subsidies, close tax loopholes and levy a foreign homebuyers’ tax.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) just released a cost analysis of the party’s proposal to cut interest from current and future student loans.
The report shows that plan would cost $204 million in 2019-2020 and the cost would gradually increase until it tripled that amount — up to $598 million — a decade later.
The PBO can be used to cost out any campaign proposals during the 2019 campaign, and the subsequent reports will be published as the promises are announced by the parties.
Elections Canada posted the party’s annual financial return online on Thursday, showing the NDP finished last year with assets worth $4.7 million and liabilities totalling $9.2 million, leaving a $4.5 million hole, a 17-year low for the party. -CINEWS