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NDP vows to hold Liberals to promises

Disappoint­ing campaign result to be reviewed


New Democrats will hold an internal review of its “disappoint­ing” election campaign, leader Jagmeet Singh told NDP MPS at their first caucus meeting Wednesday.

Singh said that while he’s proud of the campaign he ran, “we’re also obviously disappoint­ed as well.”

“There’s a lot of close ridings. We were really close in a lot of places. So we’ve got to figure that out,” he said in a speech at the beginning of the meeting.

The NDP won 25 seats in the September vote, only one more than it had before the election. That’s despite the fact that throughout the campaign, the NDP polled at around 20-per-cent support, a level that led to projection­s of electing a dozen new MPS. In the end, the party received just under 18-per-cent support — up from 16 per cent in 2019.

Singh said the “really extensive” review will be headed by NDP strategist Bob Dewar, who served as special adviser to B.C. NDP Premier John Horgan.

Singh said he is still “holding out hope” that the race in the Toronto riding of Davenport could go to the NDP. A recount will be held at the party’s request after candidate Alejandra Bravo lost to the Liberal incumbent by 76 votes.

In his speech to caucus, Singh outlined the party’s priorities when Parliament returns this fall.

The New Democrats are in a position to push their agenda on the minority Liberals who need the support of one other party to pass legislatio­n.

“Canadians want to see Parliament work for them. Our goal is never in a minority government to tear down government,” Singh said.

He said the party will hold the Liberals to their election promise to bring in 10 days of paid sick leave for federally regulated workers, something the NDP was pushing for prior to the election. “So let’s make that happen,” he said.

Singh indicated Liberal promises on child care and the environmen­t will have the support of the NDP.

Both the NDP and Liberals campaigned on $10-a-day child care during the election, and the Liberal government has signed deals with eight provinces to put that system in place. “Now there’s a chance the Liberals are serious about it, we can get that done,” he said.

Singh said the same goes for the promises the Liberals made to reduce emissions and fight climate change. “Here’s an opportunit­y. If the Liberals meant it, then let’s get down and get some of that done.”

He said other priorities for the party include reconcilia­tion, affordable housing and higher taxes for the super-rich.

One issue where the NDP differs from the Liberal government is on a national vaccine passport. The Liberals promised $1 billion for provinces who want to develop their own vaccine passports, but the NDP has been pushing for a national system.

“Lots of different provinces are coming up with approaches, but having a clear federal document that can be used to prove your vaccinatio­n is something we’ve long called for, and seems to make a lot of sense. So we can continue to push on that,” Singh said.

On Wednesday, Trudeau said the government was working on a vaccine passport for internatio­nal travel but released few details.

The New Democrats’ sole Quebec MP, Alexandre Boulerice, told reporters before the party’s caucus meeting that one possible reason the party didn’t add more MPS despite the increase in NDP votes was that efforts weren’t well-targeted, and there were problems getting out the vote, especially among younger voters and students. He said the decision by Elections Canada not to have polling stations on university campuses “had a huge impact on us.”

“We will have to learn the lessons and do better next time,” he said.

In Alberta, the party did add one additional MP with Blake Desjarlais elected in Edmonton Griesbach. He joins Edmonton Strathcona MP Heather Mcpherson. Mcpherson said for her, “it was a real win to be able to bring someone from Alberta. But of course, we’re disappoint­ed.”

Desjarlais was asked what lessons the party could take from its successful campaigns in the Edmonton area to other cities where they hope to make breakthrou­ghs. “It’s the ground game. It was always my priority,” he said, noting his campaign made it a point to talk to everyone in the community, including those without housing.

“We talked to people who otherwise felt as though they had no voice, who felt apathetic to the whole system,” he said. “I think that campaigns anywhere else could do that, and focus on those folks who may not have otherwise had their voices heard, and get the vote out, is really, I think, the solution.”


 ?? SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS ?? NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addresses his caucus in Ottawa on Wednesday at their first meeting since the September federal election.
SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addresses his caucus in Ottawa on Wednesday at their first meeting since the September federal election.
 ?? ?? Heather Mcpherson
Heather Mcpherson

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