Politics

Facing a possible wipeout in Quebec, Singh evokes Jack Layton's legacy

Jagmeet Singh returned to the childhood home of former NDP leader Jack Layton today, promising to build on his legacy in Quebec while trying to dispel fears the party could be pushed off the province's electoral map in Monday’s election.

CBC's Poll Tracker puts the NDP's seat projection in Quebec between 0 and 2

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, hugs Olivia Chow, widow of former NDP leader Jack Layton as they make an announcement at Jack Layton Park during a campaign stop in Hudson, Que., on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Jagmeet Singh returned to the childhood home of former NDP leader Jack Layton today, promising to build on his legacy in Quebec while trying to dispel fears the party could be pushed off the province's electoral map in Monday's election.

While the New Democrats are experiencing a late surge in the polls nationwide, they are still struggling to replicate that momentum in Quebec.

According to the CBC's Poll Tracker, an aggregation of all publicly available polling data, the NDP's 14 Quebec incumbents could have a rough night.

The tracker says the party is averaging around 12 per cent in the polls in Quebec and is projected to secure somewhere between zero and two seats in the province.

But Singh assured supporters he doesn't share those views.

"I think that's not the case at all. We are not in any fear of that happening," Singh told reporters during a stop at Jack Layton Park in Hudson, Que.

"The support that we're receiving on the ground is going to translate to support at the polls and I'm confident that people will see that we will fight for them."

Layton, who died of cancer in August, 2011, was credited with bringing 59 Quebec MPs to the House of Commons in that year's election, making the party caucus the Official Opposition for the first time ever.

"It's thanks to Jack that the NDP now has the place it currently holds in the hearts of Quebecers, and it's thanks to him as well that I am in politics now. So today, we want to highlight that connection and move forward with that inspiration," said Singh, with Layton's widow Olivia Chow at his side.

When asked if he was leaning on Layton's legacy because he isn't resonating as a leader in Quebec, Singh said honouring the party's past should not be seen as a sign of current weakness.

"I think it's important to acknowledge that he did some amazing things and in a lot of ways, he did some things better than me. And I think that's good, I think it's important to acknowledge that," he said.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, centre, talks with supporters at Jack Layton Park during a campaign stop in Hudson, Que., on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

"He had a long time to build up an incredible movement in Quebec. I think that's beautiful and I want to build on that legacy."

Final pitches to Quebec

Five of six leaders are in Quebec today making what could be their final pitches to the province. 

Surrounded by 29 Quebec candidates at an event at Montreal's Botanical Gardens this morning, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau conceded the Conservatives could win Monday's election, saying that would be "truly unfortunate" for the fight against climate change.

"I think Conservatives need to continue to be called out for the nasty, negative campaign that they are running, because Canadians deserve better," he said.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer outlined his priorities for Quebec Tuesday night in a final effort to fend off the late advances of the Bloc Québécois and NDP.

"In a few days, Quebecers will have the opportunity to choose a new federal government in Ottawa," Scheer said on Tuesday evening during a campaign stop in La Prairie, Que.

"Change is what we represent. A Conservative government that would listen to the Quebec nation, a Conservative government that would be an ally to all Quebecers"

When asked how he is distinguishing himself from Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his party is 'actually progressive.' 1:46

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