Jagmeet Singh pledges a diversified economy during Calgary visit
NDP leader is the third federal leader to stop in Calgary recently, fuelling speculation of an election call
Jagmeet Singh pledged opportunities for energy workers in a diversified economy during a visit to Calgary on Saturday.
"We know that energy sector workers are struggling right now and they need help. We are here to help them," Singh said.
The federal NDP leader made the comments as he kicked off a short tour of Alberta at a pancake brunch in the East Village before meeting with the Calgary and District Labour Council.
He also stopped by Calgary's Red FM radio studio for an interview in Punjabi, where spoke about Gurinder Singh Gill's candidacy for the NDP in Calgary-Skyview. He'll be travelling to Edmonton on Sunday.
Singh said he's heard from energy workers who are concerned about the direction global markets are going, and young people worried about climate change, especially given this summer's wildfires and floods.
"Lots of folks I know in Alberta are worried about diversifying the economy, making sure we've got good jobs for today and tomorrow," Singh said. "People are worried about having your eggs all in one basket."
"This is an opportunity to build good jobs," he added, listing opportunities that could stem from investments in infrastructure, building retrofits, oil well remediation and oil well conversions to geothermal.
Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole have visited Calgary in recent weeks, fuelling talk of an upcoming election call.
Singh said he's ready for an election if Trudeau chooses to call one, but said his preference would be to continue working to help constituents.
He added that he plans to continue advocating for universal pharmacare and dental care, and used the opportunity to take a swipe at Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's cuts to health care. Singh does not have a meeting scheduled with Kenney while he's in the province.
The NDP currently only hold one seat in Alberta, in Edmonton Strathcona. But Singh said he believes his party's support of workers leaves him well-poised to gain voters in the province.
The NDP leader also took the opportunity to address multiple attacks against Muslim and Sikh women in Alberta over recent months, including an attack against an Alberta minister's daughter.
"It's really horrible what we see in Alberta, but I don't want people to think it's just an Alberta problem," he said.
"We're seeing a rise in Islamophobia across the country, it's really heartbreaking and it reminds something that hate is not something that is isolated. Hate is like a fire. Once people are targeted because of their religion, we know that it can spread to people based on their gender, their sexuality, their race."
Singh said all Canadians have a collective responsibility to stand against hate.
With files from Terri Trembath