Burnaby South NDP MP Kennedy Stewart endorses Jagmeet Singh for party leader

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      A Ontario provincial politician's campaign to lead the federal New Democrats has received a boost from a twice-elected Lower Mainland MP.

      Today, Kennedy Stewart endorsed Jagmeet Singh to replace his soon-to-be-departed leader, Tom Mulcair.

      Stewart represents Burnaby South in Parliament.

      "Everyone I speak to in B.C. is excited about Jagmeet running for leader of the NDP," Stewart said in a statement. "He is the candidate who will shake things up in Ottawa and inspire Canadians to join our party. I am proud to support Jagmeet."

      Stewart has been one of the B.C. MPs most critical of the Kinder Morgan pipeline project, which was approved last year by the Trudeau government.

      In mid-June, Singh linked his opposition to pipeline projects to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He stated that this document requires obtaining free, prior, and informed consent from First Nations before implementing legislative or administrative measures that have an impact on them.

      "This is why we must oppose the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline and the building of the Energy East pipeline," Singh declares in a policy paper . "Not only does significantly increasing oil production and international oil exports through these pipeline projects undermine our efforts to reduce our emissions, but it conflicts with UNDRIP. Canada needs to commit to UNDRIP and this means saying no to the Kinder Morgan and Energy East pipeline projects."

      Two other federal NDP leadership candidates, Niki Ashton and Guy Caron, have also expressed opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

      Jagmeet Singh is a 38-year-old lawyer and human-rights activist.
      Gurpreet Singh

      Stewart's backing of Singh came shortly after another candidate, New Westminster-Burnaby NDP MP Peter Julian, dropped out of the race.

      The only other NDP leadership candidate, MP Charlie Angus, has called for Canada to set a carbon budget rather than focusing on individual pipelines.

      The first NDP MP to endorse Singh was Randall Garrison, who represents the suburban Victoria riding of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.