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

The bus is free to ride on Oct. 24 so voters can get to the polls to cast their ballots in the provincial election. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Free transit on Election Day in Cowichan

all day and on all regular routes

Painters Jim Tulip, Doug Mackenzie and Gary Henslowe were painting the exterior of the Duncan Butcher Shop and Apple Press printing shop, located between the Trans Canada Highway and Whistler Street, on Oct. 8 as part of neighbourhood painting project. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan’s Whistler Street sees a fresh lick of paint in opioid battle

Group wants to help clean up community, one street at a time

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, left, joined Rob Douglas, right, NDP candidate for the Cowichan Valley in the upcoming provincial election, on a tour to meet people in Lake Cowichan on Oct. 16 and discuss local issues. (Robert Barron/Citizen) Douglas’s campaign continued to pull out all the stops with a visit on Sunday from Premier John Horgan for some spearfishing in Duncan. (Submitted)
Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visits Lake Cowichan

Rob Douglas, NDP’s candidate for Cowichan Valley, joins him

Duncan-based author Jennifer Manuel took home the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for her first novel, The Heaviness of Things that Float, at the 33rd Annual BC Book Prizes. She will be part of an online reading session on Oct. 22, 2020, featuring Cowichan Valley writers. (Submitted photo)
Cowichan Valley authors to be featured in online readings Oct. 22

The Cowichan Valley Writers Spotlight will feature readings by eight area writers

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Michael Leighton, who is wanted on 11 warrants on Vancouver Island and is a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft in Nanaimo. (Photos submitted)
RCMP looking for break-and-enter suspect with 11 warrants on the Island

Nanaimo RCMP say Michael Leighton a suspect in theft of pistol and $40,000 worth of coins

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

Most Read