NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh listens to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Singh blasts Trudeau, O’Toole for helping big business, super-rich during pandemic

Jagmeet Singh wants the Liberals to extend benefits for unemployed Canadians that he says they are planning to curtail

New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh says he’s not interested in forcing a federal election with a second wave of COVID-19 looming, if he can work with the Liberals to bring much-needed help to struggling Canadians.

Singh’s comments Friday were his clearest yet on whether the NDP plans to support the minority Liberal government’s throne speech next week. The speech will be followed by a confidence vote that the Liberals must win to keep governing.

The Liberals need the support of one party to carry on, and the fourth-place NDP have enough seats to make that happen.

Singh was to speak with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday afternoon, and he said he would make the case for the government to extend benefits for unemployed Canadians that the Liberals are planning to reduce.

“We are absolutely prepared to fight an election. But I want to be very clear about this point: it is not my goal to tear down government, it is not my goal to force an election,” Singh said in a speech outside the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., with Parliament as his backdrop across the Ottawa River.

“But we know with the coming second wave, with the help that Canadians need right now, our focus in on making sure that families, working people, small businesses get the help they need.”

In the speech, and in remarks to reporters afterwards, Singh accused his Liberal and Conservative counterparts of doing the bidding of big business during the pandemic.

Singh took aim at Trudeau and Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole as he laid out the NDP’s priorities. He told his supporters that his two main political rivals are essentially in the back pocket of big business and the “super rich,” who he said have profited massively during the pandemic at the expense of working people.

“Megacompanies like Netflix and Amazon pay virtually no tax in Canada,” he said.

“Tax loopholes and giveaways continue to let the richest Canadians get away without paying their fair share. This isn’t an accident. The system designed by the parties of Justin Trudeau and Erin O’Toole doesn’t work for working people. It works for the rich and powerful.”

Later, when he was answering questions about whether he would support the government, Singh said: “The richest have made profits in this pandemic, but everyday people have actually felt the pain. And so we need to get help to them.”

He made clear that unless the Liberals focus more on working people than on bigger corporate interests, his party’s support will evaporate.

“If the Liberal government continues down a path where they’re more interested in helping themselves, they get caught up in scandal, and they’re not willing to do what’s necessary … and they’re more worried about helping themselves, then we are prepared to fight an election.”

Singh wants the Liberals to extend benefits for unemployed Canadians that he says they are planning to curtail.

He’s also called on the government to do more to help seniors, and address the crises in climate change and affordable housing.

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Federal Politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Burns Lake RCMP is investigating the incident. (Phil McLachlan photo)
Fatal collision between a pedestrian and train near Burns Lake

Police say the investigation is still ongoing

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals.
‘Where is Annita McPhee?’: Cullen under fire from opening salvo of all-candidates forum

Four Stikine candidates spar during online debate from Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge in Smithers

(Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidimt'en Territory Facebook screenshot)
Ceremony a right at proposed CGL pipeline drill site: BC Union of Indian Chiefs

Indigenous land defenders cannot be criminalized and targeted, argues UBCIC

(File graphic)
Man dies in Gitlaxt’aamiks (New Aiyansh) after being taken into police custody

IIO and BC Corners Service conducting independent investigations

Dan Stuart (Christian Heritage Party - BC photo)
Strong values underpin Christian Heritage Party candidate

He’s also suspicious of the COVID-19 pandemic

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Fort St. John councillor Trevor Bolin (B.C. Conservative Party)
BC Conservatives leader fights back after BC Liberals leak 2018 workplace harassment case

Sexual harassment case was connected to employee being terminated, WorkSafeBC found

Most Read