Singh makes P.E.I. pre-election stop, says there's a point to voting NDP
NDP leader says his party would fight for Islanders, not take their support for granted
Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh made a rare visit to Prince Edward Island Monday evening, greeting party supporters in advance of an expected election call.
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Singh kicked off a tour of the Atlantic region earlier in the day, making an announcement in Bathurst, N.B.
Speaking to a crowd of about 100 supporters at Confederation Landing Park in Charlottetown, Singh listed off the ways in which he said he and his party have been able to push the Trudeau government to improve its pandemic response.
"The Canadian Emergency Student Benefit — that was us, that was New Democrats. We made that happen," Singh told the crowd.
Without NDP intervention he said the Canada Emergency Response Benefit would have been $1,000 per month, not $2,000, and he said it was the NDP who intervened to bring the federal wage subsidy to 75 per cent, up from the Trudeau government's initial offering of 10 per cent.
Because the Liberals have a minority government they need the support of at least one other party to pass legislation.
Singh drew some of the biggest cheers from the crowd when he said New Democrats would bring in a tax on the ultra-wealthy to help pay down the debt incurred from the pandemic response.
"The vast majority of Canadians want to see the ultra-rich pay their fair share. They believe in that, and we're the only ones that are fighting for this," he said.
Singh was joined on stage by Margaret Andrade, whom he introduced as the party's candidate for Charlottetown, and Lynne Thiele, who ran in Cardigan in 2019 and is set to repeat this year.
Last visit was in 2018
This is only Singh's second visit to P.E.I. — not just during his tenure as NDP leader, but in his lifetime. His last visit to the province was in 2018. He did not visit during the 2019 election campaign, his first as leader.
But he's now the third federal leader to visit the province in the past two weeks, following in the footsteps of Erin O'Toole and Justin Trudeau, with speculation continuing to swirl around an imminent election call.
The NDP has never achieved better than a second-place showing in any federal riding in P.E.I., and only once has the provincial party won a seat in the P.E.I. legislature.
In the 2019 election, for the first time, the federal party's candidates came in fourth place in every Island riding, surpassed by the surging Green Party.
The Liberals swept all four Island ridings, as they have in eight of the last 10 federal elections.
What's the point of voting NDP?
Singh said his takeaway from that result is that his party needs to "show the people of P.E.I. what's the point of voting for a New Democrat?"
"What happens when you vote for a New Democrat — you get someone who fights for you," Singh said.
"Islanders need New Democrats who are not going to take their votes for granted. We are going to fight for you every step of the way."
Singh's agenda includes a meeting with Premier Dennis King Tuesday morning, and a public event in the afternoon in Summerside.
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