NDP leader Jagmeet Singh finished his tour around the Okanagan and Kamloops with a stop in Penticton.
Singh opened with kind words for local MP Richard Cannings, who joined the party leader in front of his office on Main Street.
“I am honoured to have Richard on our team. The things people say about him, the fact that he is a hard-working MP, he cares so much about the community, he’s someone from Penticton that understands the people around here…” said Singh.
As his final stop on a tour that included a visit to the former Kamloops Residential School and the emergency operations centre handling evacuees from the Nk’Mip Creek Wildfire, Singh spoke on both the environment and Indigenous issues.
“We have to fight with everything we have to make things right for Indigenous communities. That means stopping the legal battles against Indigenous kids, that means following all the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” said Singh.
Climate change and the NDP’s approach to fighting for the cause covered most of the questions and answers during the conference.
Singh reiterated the NDP’s focus on moving to greener energy sources and to transitioning fossil fuel industry jobs to more sustainable ones.
The climate crisis itself offers an opportunity for Singh, as he put it tackling the issue will create and require many jobs, from converting homes to be more efficient and temperature ready, to converting old oil wells into geothermal wells for power and building batteries and electric vehicles for the future.
“The energy sector knows the global markets are headed in a way where there will be less and less demand for fossil fuels,” said Singh. “Energy sector workers want to know they’ve got a job, and what we can do is immediately invest in creating those jobs.”
Singh also reiterated that it was time for the federal government to get back into housing and building more affordable housing across Canada.
“Richard has talked a lot about the housing crisis in Penticton and surrounding areas and it’s a crisis. It was a crisis before the pandemic and it’s only gotten worse,” said Singh. “The federal government has been out of dealing with this crisis for decades. It’s also a job creator to build affordable homes for everyone.”
Despite some rumours and reports of an early election coming, Sing firmly stated he would not push for an early election himself.
“We have elections every four years, and the exception is if the current government loses confidence, and they haven’t. They’ve passed all confidence motions and a budget,” said Singh. “We’re in a pandemic, we should be focused on getting people the help they need.”
He also repeated his support of electoral reform for a more representative election.
As for the last question for Singh? He does in fact still longboard regularly and he even recently got a new one.
“I just got a brand new longboard, Canadian-made Landyachtz,” said Singh with a laugh. “I didn’t bring with me this trip but I ride it all the time.”
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