Jagmeet Singh warned on Thursday that he is willing to “withhold votes” for liberal legislation with which he disagrees, including the budget.
The NDP leader pointed to a tougher stance on cooperation with liberals in Parliament, stating that he “will not take nice or nice words for granted” from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Singh said Trudeau’s promises would not be enough to win the support of the NDP in Parliament. The price would be a “concrete action” on the priorities of the NDP, such as extending the benefits of COVID-19 that will expire this month.
At a news conference in Ottawa, Singh said he wants to see a “positive sign” from Trudeau that he is willing to work with the NDP.
He revealed that Trudeau had not yet answered the phone to discuss cooperation in Parliament on the policies they agree on or to negotiate.
“They have not communicated and they have not indicated that they want to negotiate or speak so far, it is fine,” Singh said. “I don’t care because they know where we are.”
As in the last Parliament, Trudeau’s minority government will depend on the votes of other parties to advance its legislative program.
Singh made it clear that Trudeau could not take support for the NDP for granted.
“We are willing to retain our votes and that is why we call on the government to show that they are interested in working together,” he said.
The “concrete action” that Singh is demanding includes guaranteed paid sick leave for workers and an end to the recovery of financial support for low-income retirees who received pandemic benefits. Ensuring that indigenous communities have clean and safe drinking water is another priority.
“I hope they show an interest (in working together) by doing any of these things we’ve talked about,” he said.
NDP prepared to retain votes in Parliament, even on the liberal budget: Singh. #CDNPOli #NDP
The NDP leader said he is “very skeptical of the words and promises of Mr. Trudeau and the liberals. Because they don’t keep them.”
Promises made by Trudeau in the past, such as about pharmaceutical care, had not materialized into policy, Singh said.
However, the NDP leader added that if he sees evidence from liberals that “they are really interested in working for the people,” they could “count on my support.”
“We retain our votes in the past and we are prepared to do so again,” he warned.
On Wednesday, Singh met with members of the NDP caucus for the first time since the election. The NDP returned 25 MPs to Parliament, just one more than in the last election, despite spending $ 25 million on its campaign.
Singh said a review would look at whether the party should have run a tougher campaign on the ground. It will also look at whether Singh’s tour of the country, which saw him visit more than 50 target constituencies, paid off.
Singh said he was “proud” of the overall campaign, but “disappointed” that so many NDP candidates narrowly missed a seat in Ottawa. In about 12 constituencies, he said the NDP came within one to two percent of winning.
Melanie Richer, communications director for the NDP, confirmed that the review, spearheaded by veteran party strategist Bob Dewar, would also examine why the party had not made its way to key targets in Toronto or Quebec.
The NDP announced Thursday that its caucus had elected parliamentarians to key positions, including Vancouver MP Jenny Kwan, who will serve as caucus chair, and Blake Desjarlais, a newly elected mixed-race mixed-race leader in Edmonton, as caucus vice chair. .
Quebec MP Alexandre Boulerice will continue as Deputy Leader of the NDP, and Peter Julian of BC will continue as Leader of the House.
“I am very proud of our team and I know that these MPs are going to work hard to ensure that people have a voice in which they can count on Ottawa,” Singh said in a written statement.
“I will rely on MPs in these important leadership roles as the new Democrats work to meet Canadians in this minority parliament.”
This Canadian Press report was first published on October 7, 2021.