NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is taking on the “super rich” and tax-evading corporations as he seeks to draw a distinction between his party and his opponents in the upcoming Sept. 20 federal election.
He’s also dancing in TikTok videos, rolling up his sleeves to bake bread at Olivier's Bakery in Coquitlam and visiting Novo Textiles, a local PPE manufacturing plant.
It’s all part of his plan to try to win back the Port Moody-Coquitlam riding, won by Conservative Nelly Shin in 2019, snatch Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam from the Liberals’ Ron McKinnon and perhaps even replicate the so-called "orange wave" when the NDP formed the official opposition in 2011.
In the Tri-Cities on Tuesday (Aug. 17) to support NDP candidate Bonita Zarrillo, who is also a Coquitlam councillor, Singh brought back memories of another popular NDP leader — Jack Layton.
Expanding on his job recovery theme, Singh said in an interview with Glacier Media the NDP is differentiating itself from the Conservatives and the federal Liberals by insisting that the “ultra rich” and large companies like Amazon should “pay their fair share” of taxes.
Instead of allowing loopholes and money to flow to off-shore banks, “an NDP government would make sure the super rich pay their fair share and we’d give it back to the people who need it,” said Singh.
NDP PLATFORM — 'READY FOR BETTER'
The young leader uses the American business magnate Jeff Bezos [Amazon founder] as an example of “profiteers” because his company made profits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says Canada should tax those pandemic profits.
“We did that in the post war — have a post war profiteering tax,” said Singh. “We similarly think there’s a way to make sure those billionaires going off into space and going on rocket ship rides would pay their fair share.”
His party has rolled out its Ready for Better commitments, which include promises on the economy, climate action, reconciliation and health care.
Singh said Canada is facing a climate crisis, as evidenced by B.C. wildfires he drove through last week, and needs to fund innovation and programs so Canadians can electrify their vehicles and heat their homes using renewable energy.
“The solutions are there,” he said, “I want to double down on the hope and optimism. I’m kind of an eternal optimist…and want to show there are things we can do better.”
Winning back Port Moody-Coquitlam is doable, he said, because the NDP has proven it will help Canadians, he said.
Singh said his party pushed the federal Liberals to increase the Canadian Economic Recovery Benefit to $2,000 from $1,000 and agitated for increasing wage subsides for businesses.
“By doing that we saved millions of jobs, millions of Canadians kept their jobs.”
SINGH: NDP SUPPORTS AFFORDABLE UNIVERSAL CHILD CARE
On child care supports, Singh claimed the Liberal government has stalled on helping parents, only recently announcing funding for B.C.’s $10 a day program after 30 years of promises.
Singh, whose wife Gurkiran is pregnant, said he’s going to be in the same boat as many Tri-City and Metro Vancouver residents facing huge costs for child care.
He said the NDP believes in “affordable universal child care” and would support an immediate transition while the Liberals have “made the promise and broken the promise for decades.”
As for the timing of the election, Singh is on record as saying the Justin Trudeau-led Liberals are being “selfish” in calling an election. While his BC NDP counterpart, Premier John Horgan, similarly held an election during the pandemic to obtain a majority government, Singh said it’s Trudeau who broke his promise by calling a fall election after agreeing not to in a House of Commons vote.
After a day in the Tri-Cities and Burnaby, Singh said he would be embarking on a cross-Canada trip, but he hoped to be back to shore up his local NDP candidates, including Zarrillo who narrowly lost to Conservative Shin by 153 votes in 2019, and Laura Dupont, a Port Coquitlam councillor running in Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam.
“I believe we should be fighting for people and making parliament work for people,” Singh said.