Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh touring Vancouver Island


WATCH: Jagmeet Singh took over the NDP leadership Oct. 1, 2017. He’s now touring Vancouver Island communities to learn about local issues. Dean Stoltz has more. 

Jagmeet Singh has only been party leader for five months, so he’s now hitting the road to get to know Canadians and Vancouver Islanders better.


Vancouver Island is friendly territory. The NDP won all but one Vancouver Island riding in the last election. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May took the riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Singh’s speech to the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce Monday hit on topics like inequality among Canadians, the environment, seniors care, health care and more.

Fish farming is a local issue he’s also aware of.

“So we need to make sure we make decisions that make sure we protect workers in the business sector but we really need to look long-term at how do we protect our environment and that means biodiversity, that means wild stocks, so we?ve got to make good decisions there,” said Singh.

Care for senior citizens was high on Singh’s list of talking points.

In fact, North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney says her constituents list senior’s care as their number one concern, far and above any other topic.

“We need a national seniors strategy so we can tie in federal, provincial, municipal strategy to address the fact that we know we have an ageing population,” said Singh.

The lunchtime Chamber of Commerce crowd asked numerous questions and seemed satisfied with the party leader’s answers.

“I think what I?m seeing here is they really are trying to research the issues and understand what they are rather than making a rash change in policy,” said local business owner Lonnie Tkatch.

Singh addressed NAFTA, U.S. President Donald Trump and the tariffs he’s threatening to place on Canadian steel in what could become a trade war with the U.S. He calls Trump a bully and says Canada needs to stand up to him.

“And I?m not seeing this current Trudeau government standing up to Trump. We need to make sure we don?t allow this bullying tactic to get us an unfair deal when it comes to NAFTA,” he said.

Blaney gives her boss full marks for trying to understand what the local issues are.

“He knows that he doesn?t understand everything so he?s out there asking the question wanting to learn from every day Canad,ans.” said Blaney.

After speaking in Courtenay Monday evening, Singh will tour Port Alberni and Nanaimo on Tuesday.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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