Singh takes a bit of patience
Photo Guillaume St-Pierre
Jagmeet Singh was elected on the 1st October at the head of the NDP, is too recent to see results, according to him. At the time of the year-end balance sheets, he praised the mayor of Montreal’s Valerie Plante, and even the Québec solidaire party for their progressive ideas.
Sunday, 14 January 2018 19:36
Sunday, 14 January 2018 19:36
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OTTAWA | Poor results in the recent by-elections, polls in favour of Justin Trudeau in Quebec, the popularity of movements sceptical of immigration… the challenges of The new leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Singh, have been numerous in 2017. By contrast, the election of the mayor of Montréal Valérie Plant remains for him a sign that his vision, is still unknown to the public, by his own admission, is also from Quebec.
In what state was the NDP when you’ve picked up this fall ?
It was very clear that after 2015, this was not the right spirit for the NDP, because we lost a lot of members. Also, after the congress in Alberta [where the delegates were shown the door to Thomas Mulcair, editor’s NOTE], the situation was even worse because we have lost our chief. Fundraising, political contributions, became more difficult to obtain. As I said during the leadership race, it was necessary to rebuild the party. At the same time, we still have 44 members and a lot of volunteers.
What is the “new direction” of the NDP under Jagmeet Singh ?
I want to inspire people with the ideas. I want to show that I am someone who understands the reality of many Canadians. I am someone who has faced discrimination, which has faced economic difficulties in my life. When I speak of the problems that exist in our society, it is with a real empathy, because I have lived a little the same things. I understand the reality of Canadians in a way more real than the prime minister. We will continue to put pressure on issues such as tax havens, tax loopholes or inequities, which the government is not prepared to tackle.
At this time, the Coalition avenir Quebec seems to be leading the polls in Quebec. Dread-you-the rise of the right ?
Yes, there is an increase in conservative policy and which divide. It is important to understand that this is a reality that exists throughout the world. We saw this in the United States, we saw this in England with Brexit. At the same time, I know that there is a feeling of helping our neighbors, a sense progressive, in the hearts of Canadians and Canadian, and even more in the spirit of quebec. We have seen with the election of the mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante, Quebec is a progressive nation.
Are you concerned that Justin Trudeau is made to dislodge by the right, by the conservatives ?
Yes, it concerns me, it is one of the reasons why I presented myself, to give an option. When someone sees me, he may think that I split with my identity. But every thing that I propose, it is on the basis of values that will unify the people. To build a better country, a better society, we must understand that we are all together. We have differences, and yes, you can celebrate the fact that we are all unique, but at the same time there is a connected experience.
Do you feel that there is a speech sceptical of immigration, especially with the influx of refugees this year ?
Without a doubt, but we need immigration. Not only for the richness of our canadian culture but for our economy. We cannot advance the economy without immigration. When you propose policies that welcome new Canadians, immigrants or refugees, this is not only a question of social justice. It is also an economic decision. It is necessary to promote the two, to answer once and for good to this question : it is a good thing immigration.
What do you think of the quebec left, Québec solidaire, which speaks more of independence since its merger with the national Option ?
Me, I want Canada to remain together. But also, I respect the rights of the person, such as asking the sovereignty. Québec solidaire is a party that is progressive, and I would prefer that the sovereignty is put aside to focus other issues as a strategy to be elected. There are a lot of people who are progressive and not sovereignists, and it is important to remember these people. But this is not up to me to choose, it is their decision. I am a federalist and I would like to see a government progressive in Quebec.
What happens to the NDP-Quebec ?
For the federalists, it was not only an option — and it is the right, or the center-right : the LIBERALS [from his point of view, the CAQ is too ambiguous on the issue, ED]. They are not progressive. That is what we can do now ? I don’t know. I think now, the only option that have to the progressives, it is Québec solidaire. This is the reality. I can’t say now whether there will be a NDP-Québec.
► The Journal has met with representatives of the three opposition federal for interviews that we present in this beginning of the year. Tuesday, the turn of the leader of the Bloc québécois Martine Ouellet.