Jagmeet Singh can’t help it. Got to hit Justin Trudeau

REGINA – Even when you’re on a conservative heart tour and asked to answer a single question without mentioning Justin Trudeau’s name, Jagmeet Singh can’t help it.

You have to hit the liberal leader.

“Mr. Trudeau has been everything for the show. His decisions have hurt people. He has shown which side he’s on. He’s not on your side,” Singh said.

Singh’s campaign crossed the prairies on Saturday as the leader’s tour filled with stops in five provinces over two days in this latest leg of the federal elections. It was the NDP’s latest show of ambition, leading Singh to conservative-controlled constituencies in Saskatoon, Regina and Edmonton.

And yet the NDP leader intended to maintain his relentless attacks on the Liberal leader, even when visiting districts where his party’s main opponents were clearly the conservative candidates of Erin O’Toole.

That has been the NDP’s strategy even before Trudeau called this snap federal election on August 15. In April, at the party’s national convention, Singh’s keynote speech was a barrage of accusations that the Trudeau liberals “aren’t in it for you.”

The party took that same message in the campaign and brought it to the people every day: the NDP has questioned liberal motivations and loyalties and positioned itself as the true progressive party with the will to enact the policies that left-wing voters want. That includes higher taxes for the “ultra-rich,” new social programs like Universal Pharmacare, and a firmer line in Canada’s fossil fuel sector to ultimately ensure that this country significantly reduces its greenhouse gas emissions.

When asked on Saturday about the anti-Trudeau argument running through the NDP campaign, Singh said his aim is to “attack the decisions” of the liberals when they were in power.

“I care deeply about people, and it hurts when I see bad decisions being made, and I want people to know those bad decisions,” Singh said.

Marie Della Mattia, one of the top NDP strategists traveling with Singh in the campaign, said it makes sense to keep the pressure on Trudeau even when traveling in conservative territory. Walks like Saskatoon West and Regina-Lewvan, which Singh visited on Saturday, retain many people who might consider voting for the Liberals, he said. Singh is also trying to present the NDP as the “alternative” to the ruling party at the federal level.

“What Jagmeet is doing is talking about the experience that people have right now,” Della Mattia said.

That experience came into view on Saturday afternoon, when Singh’s tour landed in Regina to visit a cemetery for children attending a residential school that caught fire in 1948.

As the violent wind blew dust from the sun-drenched meadow, Singh walked around the small cemetery enclosed in a white picket fence hung with children’s shoes and teddy bears placed along the ground at its base.

Don Moran is a local Métis man who later spoke with Singh about the need for stronger government action to address the ongoing trauma of colonialism.

Moran said he was pleased to see a campaign by a federal leader in the region, and that he hopes Singh can take “real action” on drinking water and other areas where he feels the Trudeau liberals have fallen short.

“There is lip action and there is action-action,” he said.

By criticizing Trudeau, no matter where he goes, Singh hopes to make it clear what kind of action the NDP is all about.


The conversations are the opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of conduct. The Star does not endorse these views.


Leave a Comment