British Columbia

'I never had any doubts': NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh on Burnaby South victory

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is the new MP-elect of Burnaby South after a heated few weeks of campaigning, and he will now be able lead his party from within the House of Commons.

After critical byelection win, Singh turns eyes to federal election

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh spoke with CBC Radio One's The Early Edition the morning after his victory in Burnaby South. (Clare Hennig/CBC)

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is the new MP-elect of Burnaby South after a heated few weeks of campaigning, and he will now be able lead his party from within the House of Commons.  

He sat down Tuesday morning with The Early Edition host Stephen Quinn to discuss his election victory.

You have been the federal leader of the NDP for about a year-and-a-half now, but you haven't held a seat in Parliament until now.

What is it going to mean to the party that you have finally been elected as a member of Parliament?

It gives us a chance to put some more pressure on the Liberal government in Ottawa to answer the question: why is it that they're so concerned with helping the wealthy and powerful, whether it's SNC-Lavalin or pharmaceutical companies or oil and gas?

There's been a lot of talk in this byelection that your position as the leader of the NDP rested on the outcome of the election last night.

Did you feel that way?

I never had any doubts.

We run campaigns in a way [that] we connect directly with the people, and our offer was better than the other parties.

Did you have any worries at all about the confidence that your own MPs had in you as leader of the party without an elected seat?

Well, when it comes to what we care about as New Democrats, every New Democrat is committed to fighting for the people that don't have a voice.

Our job is to take their concerns and their values and what they're worried about to Ottawa and represent them.

And we're all unified on that front.

We're all unified in building a better Canada that invests in housing, that invests in a green economy, that transforms the way we've envisioned things in the past and moves us towards investing in green technology, that creates great jobs and reduces emissions. And also an opportunity to invest in our health-care system, to expand it for medication coverage for all.

The question was: do you believe your MPs have confidence in you?

Absolutely. No question.

You're a new resident of Burnaby. How do you balance your responsibilities as leader of the NDP with representing the concerns of your constituents?

This is the struggle of all MPs: being able to take the concerns of your constituents to Ottawa, but also being able to have time on the ground to hear people's concerns.

I'll be spending my time across Canada but the Lower Mainland is incredibly important to me.

Elections are expensive. The NDP are trailing the Conservative and the Liberals when it comes to fundraising.

How prepared financially is your party to fight an election in October?

Oh, we will be ready to fight a strong election.

This excerpt aired on CBC Radio One's The Early Edition on Feb. 26, 2019. It has been edited for length and clarity. To hear the full interview, click on the audio link below:

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is the new MP-elect of Burnaby South, after a heated few weeks of campaigning, and will now be able lead his party from within the House of Commons. 11:13