Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh spoke in Regina yesterday at a keynote address at the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference.
Singh spoke to leaders of Canada’s cities and towns at the annual conference, which wrapped up Sunday. Singh said he was moved by stories of people having to put back food at the grocery store that they intended to buy, but couldn’t afford to.
“Something about that… it hit me as a real, concrete way of describing how that impacts people,” he said. “You can’t afford the things that you normally purchase. You can’t afford the ingredients for that family meal that you would normally cook. So it’s been tough.”
Singh’s NDP signed a confidence and supply agreement with the minority Liberals to push through some longstanding items that have been in their platform, including a national dental program, in exchange for budget and confidence votes until 2025.
Singh thanked the municipal leaders for their leadership in what has been a tough couple of years.
Relating a story about the name of his newborn daughter when Trudeau called him, Singh refers to this as the Anhad Accord. Her name in Sikh means ‘limitless’, and it was Trudeau’s phone call to the new parent Singh in January that kickstarted negotiations for the pact.
Singh talked about the message that people have been giving him.
“‘We’ve elected two minority governments in a row,” he said. “We want you to work together. We want you to fix the problems we’re going through. We don’t want you to fight each other. We want some help.’ People want help and people want stability.”
Singh said the dental program will be the first expansion of the health care system in over a generation and 6.5 million Canadians who didn’t have dental care will now have it.
Singh said the housing crisis has hit a lot of young people hard in the last year. Singh said they expanded the Canada Housing Benefit program helps the most vulnerable Canadians and he’s advocating to make the Rapid Housing Initiative permanent in future budgets.
“We also want to see that it be scaled up as well and that we rise to the occasion of the necessity that people have,” Singh said.