With election looming, NDP's push for gender balance slows recruitment for Quebec City ballots
Jagmeet Singh says he's also looking for more candidates from cultural minorities
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh hopes that 50 per cent of candidates running for his party in the upcoming federal election will be women.
Singh has not yet presented a single NDP candidate in the greater Quebec City region.
He said that's because he is taking his time to recruit women, something that has proven more difficult than "maintaining the status quo."
"It's easy to recruit men, that's why the majority of elected officials are men," said Singh outside Quebec City's City Hall on Friday, following a meeting with Mayor Régis Labeaume.
Singh said many supporters from the region have shown interest in joining the party in the upcoming election, but he wants to "focus on women."
"In the House of Commons we are missing women in positions of authority," said Singh. The NDP is also trying to present more candidates from cultural minorities, he added.
Of the 338 ridings across the country, Singh said his party will be unveiling 302 candidates over the next week, and is confident voters in all ridings will be able to vote NDP once voting day arrives.
It will nonetheless be an uphill battle to sway voters in the Quebec City region.
Despite winning big during 2011's "Orange Wave," with NDP candidates coming in first in the city's five main ridings, not a single NDP MP won in 2015.
All but two seats in the wider region, held by Liberals Joël Lightbound and Jean-Yves Duclos, went to the Conservatives.
Tramway over '3rd link'
Two candidates from Quebec's most left-leaning party, Québec Solidaire (QS), were elected in the provincial capital in last year's election.
Singh's values are seemingly more in tune with his QS counterparts than the party in power, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).
One of the CAQ's campaign promises was to move forward with the construction of a "third link" between Quebec City and the South Shore, a multibillion-dollar project QS has been strongly opposed to.
Singh said an NDP government would prioritize public transportation, and the city's tramway project, before allocating money for new roads.
"If we want to reduce traffic — and we've seen proof of this around the world — building new roads will only make things worse," said Singh.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Quebec City last month to reiterate his government's support for the tramway project and public transit in general.
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer has repeatedly voiced his support for the construction of the third link.