Singh calls for more Canadian content in government procurement process
NDP leader says change could help create jobs, prevent layoffs
The leader of Canada's NDP says his party would change the country's procurement rules to ensure there's more Canadian content in manufactured goods purchased by the government.
Jagmeet Singh made the policy announcement in Thunder Bay on Monday.
"We would change procurement rules to require made in Canada content," Singh said. "We know that there are various jurisdictions around the world, various countries around the world, that are already doing this."
Singh added, "Changing those rules for procurement [will] ensure that we've got Canadian content, will ensure that we've got jobs in Canada."
Singh said the specific percentage of Canadian content the NDP would require — if they form a government after the Oct. 21 federal election — hasn't yet been determined. He said the NDP would base that on what other, comparable jurisdictions are doing.
"But, to put it bluntly, as much as possible," he said. "We want to have a significant content that's Canadian."
Singh made the announcement outside of the Unifor Local 1075 office; the union represents workers at Thunder Bay's Bombardier plant.
The company recently announced it will lay off 550 workers at that plant in November, citing a work shortage there.
"We just spoke with the workers," Singh said. "When one person's laid off, it also means their whole family is impacted."
"It breaks my heart," he said. "At the time when [Bombardier] workers are faced with these struggles, we've got politicians at the federal level just pointing fingers."
Singh said a buy-Canadian requirement in government procurement would help prevent layoffs like those coming to Bombardier this fall.
"On the federal level, specifically, there's been huge inaction," he said. "One specific example that is offensive to me is that a Crown corporation, a publicly-owned corporation, Via Rail, just signed a contract for a billion dollars to buy trains that are from Germany, a German company."
"Instead of having a Canadian company provide those trains, they send that contract offshore," Singh said. "That is just wrong."