Dealing with inequality in all its forms was federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s central message as he addressed the national convention in Ottawa.
Housing, taxes, healthcare, wages and first-past-the-post voting are all flawed systems breeding inequality among Canadians, he said..
All those segments are on his radar..
” It’s possible to make better choices to get better results,” he said..
Indigenous issues, the #MeToo movement and anti-black racism need to be addressed so Canadians can “build a society where we celebrate everyone’s identity,” he added..
In building Canadian infrastructure, everything from roads to the internet, people need to come before profits, he said. Singh elaborated that to put people first, infrastructure can’t be privatized..
He acknowledged the road forward will be difficult, a phrase from his childhood came back to him..
” Chardi Kaala,” or “rising spirits,” was his mother’s mantra growing up. That courageous optimism in the face of trials is a core value of the New Democrats, he said..
Singh addressed serious topics, but often sneaked a joke into his remarks..
Despite the lighter tone at times, he reiterated his main point..
” We can’t tackle inequality without naming the problems. We can’t hide from the truth and we can’t claim that things are good enough.”.
The party will now begin the leadership vote balloting — where delegates will decide whether to reject or support Singh as leader of the NDP..
Singh is looking to avoid a repeat of what happened to previous leader Tom Mulcair in April 2016..
Mulcair endured an unmatched defeat, with about half of meeting attendees voting in favour of naming a new leader..
It was the first time a federal party leader failed to garner the minimum level of support from his own party..
The results of Singh’s leadership review are expected to be announced Saturday afternoon..
The last election and the release of the questionable LEAP Manifesto revealed a deep split in the party that Singh will seek to mend as leader..
Singh has distanced himself from Mulcair’s notion that the NDP would stick to a balanced budget if elected, saying as recently as last week that he opposes “austerity” and supports stimulus funding when required.
The list of policy proposals being debated at the convention this weekend includes inequality, Indigenous rights, environmental sustainability, free university tuition and pharmacare.
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