The House

Jagmeet Singh not picking sides in pipeline battle

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is refusing to take sides in the British Columbia-Alberta pipeline feud.

Environmental resolutions to be debated at annual NDP convention

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and hundreds of party members are in Ottawa this weekend for their national convention. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is refusing to take sides in the British Columbia-Alberta pipeline feud.

Environmental resolutions are set to take up a large amount of real estate at the party's convention in Ottawa this weekend.

But Singh wouldn't pick either side with either of the NDP premiers currently at odds over the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

Instead, he opted for diplomacy.

"Premier Notley is doing exactly what she promised to do… Premier Horgan is doing exactly what he promised to do," Singh told The House.

The disagreement has started to affect the flow of goods between the two provinces, and Notley has reached out to the Justin Trudeau to ask for a quick resolution.

But neither Notley or Horgan has reached out to Singh to ask for his help.

"I haven't spoken to either of them on this issue," Singh admitted.

The leader of the NDP talks about the work being done this weekend at the party's convention in Ottawa.

In addition, he blamed the ongoing discord on the environmental review systems used by the Trudeau and Harper governments.

A new review process based in science and evidence would make him more at ease in discussing issues relating to pipelines, he said. He also mentioned it was the responsibility of the prime minister to restore Canadians' confidence in the environmental review process.

By not weighing in, Singh avoids angering either B.C. or Alberta, but sitting on the sidelines isn't what the new leader needs to do, according to some critics.

"We need big change," said Avi Lewis, one of the drafters of the divisive LEAP manifesto.

Lewis added that for the NDP to have a chance in the 2019 election, he thinks the party needs to look outside the normal policy bubble.

"You need to excite people."

Becky Bond, a senior advisor to Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, agreed.

"You actually have to propose the big solutions that are going to solve problems."

One of the drafters of the Leap Manifesto, Avi Lewis, and Becky Bond, a senior advisor to Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign, discuss how big ideas are the key to success for the Left.