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

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

Red sky in morning: an early-morning sunrise on May 16, 2020, captured just north of Kitimat. (Eric Roy photo)
Clare’s Corner: Hello, darkness, my old friend

Why does the after-work darkness affect you so much more as an adult than as a child?

(Corrado Colombo photo)
Corrado Colombo, with his wife, Lucy. Colombo is from Italy, but met Kitimat born-and-raised Lucy on one of his annual fishing trips to Kitimat in the early 2000s.
In Our Valley: Corrado Colombo

Corrado Colombo never expected that an annual fishing trip to Kitimat would change his life

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross at his swearing in on Thursday (Nov. 26), with his wife, Tracey, left, mother, Frieda, and grandson, Parker. (Ellis Ross photo)
Ellis Ross sworn in as Skeena MLA

Ceremonies happening virtually rather than all in-person in Victoria

CityWest internet and other services are down in Kitimat as of Wednesday (Nov. 25) evening. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Services down for CityWest users in Kitimat

Services were put out due to a landslide cutting a fibre line

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
B.C. care home looks to hire residents’ family members amid COVID-19-related staff shortage

Family would get paid as temporary workers, while having chance to see loved ones while wearing PPE

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Most Read