Jagmeet Singh made a campaign-style visit to Hamilton on Friday, visiting local steelworkers, environmental organizations and Indigenous leaders. He attended Hamilton’s Downtown Mosque in the afternoon, only days after a hate crime against two Muslim women in Ancaster.
Speaking to media inside the union offices of United Steelworkers Local 1005, Singh said the New Democrats have a plan “distinct from other parties” that will create “better quality work,” Singh stated, with local NDP candidates standing behind him.
Singh says his party is ready for the “looming” election that he says is only happening because Liberal Prime Minister “Justin Trudeau wants power.”
Singh said, “there’s a lot of work that needs to be done” in Parliament now.
“We’ve got two years left on our mandate. Let’s get back to work. Let’s go back to Ottawa, not in September, and pass legislation to get people the help they need!”
The NDP wants a recovery that focuses on people.
The key messages were clear: jobs, pharmacare, dental care, and strengthening corporate laws to ensure the economy works for all people, not just the rich.
Singh says the COVID pandemic has shown what government needs to fix. “We also know that this pandemic exposed that a lot of the things that we need to keep each other safe.”
“We don’t produce here in Canada. We need to be able to produce protective equipment in Canada. We should be producing vaccines and critical drugs here in Canada.”
“We need to take better care of each other,” Singh says the NDP will implement paid sick leave for federally regulated workers. “So no one has to make the impossible choice of going into work sick, risking infecting their colleagues or staying at home and not knowing if they’re actually going to get paid enough to make their bills at the end of the month.”
“No one wants to see the money that we invest in long-term care end up in the pockets of CEOs or in dividends paid out to shareholders,” Singh stated. “So we want to get rid of profit out of long term care, invest in not for profit and public long term care, invest in creating good jobs.”
Singh took a question from a journalist asking his position on removing statues and renaming public streets.
“So no one has to make the impossible choice of going into work sick, risking infecting their colleagues or staying at home and not knowing if they’re actually going to get paid enough to make their bills at the end of the month,” Singh said.
“It’s clear given the horrific impact of residential institutes on Indigenous people that genocide that was perpetrated, anyone affiliated with it, anyone affiliated with being the architect of these institutions, having their name on a public space will not be welcoming will not send a message of inclusivity,” he continued.
“There’s a place for our history, of course, our history can be maintained in museums. We can keep statues and memorials in museums to know our history. And we need to know the great things that have happened and the horrible things that have happened.”
“That’s a part of the history of any nation. It’s important for us to know [history] so that we can move forward, we can build, we can improve, and we can move in the direction of justice in acknowledging the injustice of the past.”
NDP candidates Malcolm Allen (Hamilton Mountain) and Nick Milanovic (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek) were among those with Singh at the Steelworkers offices.