Let the bargaining begin: Trudeau knows our priorities, Singh says

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is well aware of the NDP's priorities if he's looking for a dance partner during the upcoming minority government. 

Despite making only incremental gains, the NDP has leverage in a minority government

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his wife, Gurkiran Kaur Sidhu, arrive on stage Monday to address supporters at his election night headquarters in Vancouver during the 2021 Canadian federal election. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is well aware of the NDP's priorities if he's looking for a dance partner during the upcoming Parliament.

While some ridings are still too close to call, the Liberals will once again form a minority government, meaning that, despite making just incremental gains, the NDP has leverage to push the Liberals on some of the big-ticket policies it proposed during this campaign.

While the Bloc and NDP are likely to provide enough votes to pass Trudeau's signature promises such as a new national childcare program, other issues could lead to bargaining. 

"If it's something that's going to help people out, make people's lives better, we'll not hesitate to provide support to get things done, and he knows my priorities," Singh said during a Tuesday morning news conference, after speaking to Trudeau the night before.

WATCH | Singh says he wants federal government to focus on needs of Canadians

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he wants federal government to focus on needs of Canadians

11 months ago
Duration 1:08
Responding to a question about what he wants from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in exchange for supporting his minority government, Singh says the Liberals need to prioritize health care and focus on ending the pandemic.

"We didn't get into those details, but I made it clear if it's something around anything we promised to deliver on, [like] pharmacare, something we care deeply about, we'll work to make that happen."

The NDP's marquee promises in its $200 billion platform included higher taxes on corporations and people the NDP calls the "ultra-rich;" as well as new national pharmacare and dental care programs — largely an echo of 2019's promises

"We'll fight to make sure that there's more help for people and investments in health care" said Singh.

"Despite our number, we were the most successful opposition party in the last Parliament, and this Parliament looks pretty much the same . We'll continue to do the work that we did before so Canadians can rest assured we'll be there for them."

Singh was referring to the deal his party struck with the Liberals last fall to boost the number of people who can access sick days under the government's COVID-19 benefits in a pact to secure NDP support of the throne speech.

Singh says he feels comfortable with leadership

Any upcoming negotiations won't necessarily be easy. In the final days of the campaign, Singh launched his most pointed attack yet, saying Trudeau "is bad for Canada" and an "abject failure."

"Everything I said was true, and so I'm going to stand beside it," Singh said Tuesday.

"I'm going go back and say, 'you know, you messed up. But this doesn't mean that we can't still work to get things done.'"

According to the results at 1 p.m. ET Tuesday, his party is poised to make a marginal gain in seats but will remain the fourth-place party behind the Bloc Québécois.

As of Tuesday, New Democrats are elected or leading in 25 ridings, one more than the 24 seats they won in the 2019 election.

The party did slightly increase its share of the popular vote  to 17.7 per cent so far, an improvement of 1.7 per cent over its 2019 result.

Asked Tuesday morning if he's secure in his leadership, Singh gave a one word answer.

"Yes," he said, smiling. 

With files from Nick Boisvert

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