Cross Country Checkup

NDP would 'stand up' to Trump with 'bold and strong' policies, renegotiate NAFTA, says Singh

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh took calls from Cross Country Checkup listeners during the show’s recurring Ask Me Anything segment and answered questions on Canada-U.S. relations, his party’s climate change plans and employment for rural youth.

Would suspend Safe Third Country agreement as U.S. is 'no longer a safe third country'

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh took calls from Cross Country Checkup listeners Sunday during the show's recurring Ask Me Anything segment. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his government would stand up to U.S. President Donald Trump's "bullying tactics" by suspending the Safe Third Country agreement and renegotiating NAFTA.

"Standing up to Mr. Trump means having policies that are that are bold and strong," Singh said Sunday on Cross Country Checkup.

Singh took calls from listeners during the show's recurring Ask Me Anything segment and answered questions on Canada-U.S. relations, his party's climate change plans and employment for rural youth.

Calling from Ottawa, Alec Lalonde asked Singh how he would approach a relationship with the Trump administration.

"I know from a lot of experience that when someone's bullying and someone uses bullying tactics, that the only way to stand up to a bully is to be strong," Singh said.

"You can't cave in because they're going to continue to take advantage of you."

WATCH: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh takes listeners' calls on Cross Country Checkup

Trade tensions

Pointing to the Trump administration's policy of detaining migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, Singh says that the United States is "no longer a safe third country for a lot of asylum seekers and refugees."

"What we should do, given the realities in the States, is to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement," he said. 

The Safe Third Country agreement requires refugees to seek protection in the first country they enter, unless they qualify for an exception to the agreement.

On trade with the U.S., Singh says that renegotiating NAFTA is crucial to "standing up" to Trump.

"Right now, the agreement doesn't actually have any worker's rights and environmental rights that are enforceable, and so I'd work hard with the [U.S.] Democrats to make sure that those rights are enforceable," he said.

Singh says that an NDP government would 'stand up' to U.S. President Donald Trump with 'bold and strong policies'. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

When pushed by Checkup host Duncan McCue on whether Singh's comments in support of Trump's impeachment would sour the leader's relationship with Washington, Singh doubled down.

"We're longtime friends with the States and if the president is doing something wrong, I think a good friend is expected to say, 'Hey, it's wrong what you're doing,' and to be able to call that out," he said.

Comparing climate plans

Emma Eaton calling from Whitehorse pressed Singh on whether the NDP's plan to fight climate change goes far enough, compared with the Green Party plan.

The NDP says that it would like to cut emissions by roughly 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Green Party platform includes a 60 per cent reduction over 2005 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and net zero emissions by 2050.

LISTEN: Checkup caller pushes Singh about his support of LNG extraction

Cross Country Checkup caller Aaron Keogh pushes NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to clarify whether or not he supports the LNG development in British Columbia. 4:05

Singh says that independent experts have called the NDP's plan the "best plan of all parties."

Supporting rural youth

When it comes to employment for young Canadians, Singh says that his party's infrastructure investments will create jobs in rural regions.

Calling from Sydney, N.S., Natasha Kothhar asked Singh how he would keep young Canadians like herself in their home communities.

"What I believe in is when you use public dollars to invest in infrastructure, that's how you can create great jobs and also help a community out with better infrastructure," he said.

Singh says that the NDP's plan to retrofit homes to be more environmentally friendly, build housing, and invest in public transit will all contribute to local economies.

He adds that improving broadband internet access in rural areas is also necessary.

"We know that a lot of jobs, and a lot of companies, could set up in communities that are rural if they had access to high speed internet."

Cross Country Checkup has requested Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer also participate in Ask Me Anything segments. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May joined Checkup on Sept. 29.

Written by Jason Vermes. Produced by Richard Raycraft. To hear the full Ask Me Anything segment with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, download our podcast or click Listen above.

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