Jagmeet Singh and his New Democrats are ready to work with Justin Trudeau and his incoming Liberal minority government.
“I spoke with Mr. Trudeau, prime minister, earlier tonight, and I let him know that we’ll be working hard on making sure we deliver the priorities that Canadians have,” Singh said in his speech on election night.
Speaking before New Democrats gathered at the Hilton Vancouver Metrotown in Burnaby, Singh outlined what role the party will play in the new government.
“We’re going to make sure that the energy that we built over this campaign, the excitement that we built, and the focus that we put on people, on people’s struggles, continues, so that we can play a constructive and positive role in the new parliament that Canadians have chosen,” Singh said.
The NDP is projected to have 24 seats in the House of Commons, down from the 39 the party held before the election campaign.
With the October 21 election of a minority government, Singh said that Canadians have sent a “pretty clear message”.
“They want a government that works for them, not for the rich and the powerful,” the NDP leader said.
Singh reiterated the six conditions he had laid out during the election campaign in cooperating with a minority government.
One is a national pharmacare program. As the NDP leader said, Canadians should be able to pay for their medicines by using their health card, and not their credit card.
Singh also mentioned the need for affordable housing. Another condition is waiving interests on student loans.
The NDP leader likewise cited ending subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Another is capping cell phone bills.
What got the most rapturous reaction from the crowd was Singh’s condition to tax the wealthy.
“Tax the rich,” the audience chanted repeatedly.
In his speech, Singh left no doubt about what his caucus will do.
“When we get back to Ottawa, every single day that were in parliament, New Democrats are going to be working hard to make sure your life is better,” Singh said.