Sunday November 19, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 5:15 pm]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
This Sunday morning in Victoria, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addressed the BC NDP convention.
He and and Anne McGrath, national director of the New Democratic Party have been attending the convention this weekend. About 740 delegates have attended the provincial NDP gathering, and Singh seemed impressed.
Yesterday he told Island Social Trends that the NDP is well-established in BC, that Manitoba is just getting started with NDP leadership (with recently elected Premier Wab Kinew), and that Ontario could be next with their strong NDP opposition. That was a theme in his speech today, that the BC NDP have take the lead for people’s overall economic and social well being.
Repeating his theme that the NDP ‘works to make life better for people, not rich CEOs’, the federal party leader said that by year’s end there will be free Pharmacare for Canadians (the NDP have required the necessary legislation to be passed by year-end), calling that one of the most significant health care changes in a generation.
Last year free dental for children under age 12 was brought in by the Liberal government (as pushed for by the NDP) and by year end 2023 that will be extended to seniors.
“This literally has changed the lives of people, ” said Singh on this Sunday morning at the Victoria Convention Centre.
Singh noted how BC has developed “an innovative climate plan” and free contraception. In health care, he says BC is “going in the opposite direction”, as in bringing private clinics “back to the public”.
He commended the BC government — singling out Premier David Eby and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon — for “building homes that people can actually afford”. Singh said that the overall housing market in Canada is “working for the super rich”, saying it’s doing “exactly what it was designed for”.
Housing & economic crisis:
The federal NDP will “keep people in their homes” with a housing action plan, said Singh. It’s something the party will be “pushing for in the upcoming fall economic statement”.
Telling the crowd the story of his struggles as a young man to help support his family, Singh said that many if not most working people today “are just exhausted” by just trying to make ends meet. This new reality has emerged over several decades of people who managed to get on the right track were able to get ahead, while many formerly middle class folks have fallen behind in ways that are nearly impossible to recover from. “It shouldn’t be this hard,” said Singh.
“This motivates us to build a more just Canada,” said Jagmeet Singh.
Liberals out of touch:
For the partisan audience: “Trudeau’s out-of-touch Liberals delay and disappoint,” adding that the Liberal leader “only acts when forced to or when his political future is on the line”.
Strong support in the room:
There were several bursts of applause for Singh during his short speech today, with a significant standing ovation for the last 30 seconds as he wrapped up.
NDP hoping for seat-surge in next election:
Currently about half of the 25 NDP MPs in the current House of Commons (44th Parliament) are from BC. That includes Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke), Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) and Lisa Marie Barron (Nanaimo-Ladysmith). Attending the convention along with Singh this weekend are Taylor Bachrach (Skeena—Bulkley Valley), Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni), and Laurel Collins (Victoria).
In the next federal election (currently scheduled for 2025), Singh says he wants to be prime minister, which of course means achieving at least a minority government.
Singh says that the New Democrats see right through both the Liberals and the Conservatives, and says the NDP is “fighting for you”.
The NDP can at any time pull of of their current Supply and Confidence Agreement with the Liberals. But the whole idea in the first place was to use that agreement to achieve both some 44th Parliament stability and provide leverage for the NDP in achieving certain types of progressive legislation.
It’s as a result of the NDP that Canadians saw CERB during the pandemic and the affordability measure of doubling of the GST rebate (that happened twice, most recently called the grocery rebate).
Eby’s first-year successes, next election just 11 months ahead (November 18, 2023)
BC NDP convention coming up mid-November (October 12, 2023)