NDP leader optimistic about winning federal seats in Hamilton

During a visit to Hamilton Friday Federal NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh spoke about his optimism for winning seats in Hamilton in the upcoming election this fall.

Jagmeet Singh was in Hamilton on Friday visiting three different locations

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stopped in Hamilton Friday. NDP MP for Hamilton Mountain, Scott Duvall, Hamilton Centre candidate, Matthew Green and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek hopeful, Nick Milanovic were with Singh. (Justin Mowat/CBC)

Federal NDP leader Jagmmet Singh says he's optimistic about his party's prospects for winning Hamilton seats in the federal election this fall, crediting the local candidatea vying for those wins.

"Look at this team I've got. I've got an incredible team. I'm really optimistic," said Singh.

The party leader stood alongside NDP MP for Hamilton Mountain, Scott Duvall, Hamilton Centre candidate, Matthew Green and Hamilton East-Stoney Creek hopeful, Nick Milanovic.

"We've got some incredible candidates in the riding," said Singh.

"We know that we can actually show people the alternative. They don't have to choose between, you know, bad and worse. There is a real alternative for people where you'll have someone in your corner fighting for you on your side to make life better."

He voiced his confidence in the candidates Friday in Hamilton at Indwell's Parkdale Landing on Melvin Avenue, which is a charity that creates affordable housing communities.

It was the first of three stops Singh was making. He also went to Hamilton Food Share on Barton Street before meeting with retired steelworkers.

Housing: 'major' priority

All stops were related to the central theme of his visit he says is one of "fairness" and "justice" addressing the needs of people.

His first stop relates to one of his party's major priorities, which he says is housing.

"We know that the housing crisis is gripping people from all walks of life," said Singh.

When asked what his plans for Hamilton would include, he said Hamilton like many other communities, is a city struggling with housing.

"There was a time when people used to think that there was some options for affordability here in Hamilton, but now we're seeing more and more prices are unattainable for a lot of families. People can't actually buy a home. There's no affordable rent. It's getting more and more difficult to find a place to call home so we would make housing a priority, a serious priority."

Executive director of Indwell, Jeff Neven spoke with members of the NDP on Friday while visiting Parkdale Landing on Melvin Avenue. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

Executive director of Indwell, Jeff Neven, says it's always exciting when political leaders, representing any party, are interested in affordable housing.

"We invite leaders and politicians of all parties to come and see what we're doing. Come and find out what the needs are in the community and any leader who is interested in responding to the needs of affordable housing is welcome here," said Neven.

Neven says Indwell receives three applications per day for people who need housing  and various other supports.

With the fall election just around the corner, the area is starting to see more visits from leaders.

 On Thursday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made a visit in Hamilton with other stops in Niagara and Burlington. 

When asked how the NDP plans to win back the riding of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, Singh says his candidates will show "compassion" and "care," citing an incident in February when current Liberal MP, Bob Bratina, allegedly shouted "f--k the steelworkers" and "f--k those Stelco pensioners" at a meeting.

CBC News previously reported that Bratina didn't address specifics, but acknowledged the meeting was tense and became "personal."

"Well we've seen that the current MP has not really shown a respect for the people of the riding. We've heard reports of just really disrespectful language, particularly to steel workers and to folks who are expressing concerns around some fears that they're faced with," said Singh Friday.

"This is not what people expect from an elected official … New Democrats believe, are here to serve the people, not to berate people and to put them down, to show compassion and care."

Tariffs on steel

On the topic of steel and tariffs imposed by the U.S. — which dominated the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations last year — Singh says the NDP would never have signed an agreement with a country while there's still illegal tariffs ongoing.

"That is just mind-boggling, that you would sign an agreement, a trade agreement while that same country that that trade agreement is being signed, still impasses illegal tariffs on steel and aluminum," said Singh when asked what he would do for Hamilton's steel workers.

It's an ongoing issue for Canada and just yesterday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called U.S. President Donald Trump to ask for an end to U.S. steel tariffs.

"The prime minister raised the issue of U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs and reiterated the importance of their removal," the Prime Minister's Office said.

"The prime minister and president also exchanged views on progress toward the ratification of the new North American Free Trade Agreement, and underscored the strength of the mutually beneficial Canada-U.S. economic partnership."