NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh raised the profile of one of his party’s young challengers on Thursday by making a housing policy announcement in Winnipeg North, a riding won by the Liberals in four straight elections.
Speaking at Sinclair Park, a green space in the North End, Singh reiterated pledges to offer rebates to first-time home-buyers and get “big money out of housing.”
He said the NDP are capable of winning more than three or four seats in Manitoba — something the party has not done since 1980.
“We have shown the people of Manitoba and Canadians in general that when you vote for New Democrats, you get someone on your side,” said Singh, taking credit for pushing Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government to offer pandemic relief programs.
“People have been demonstrably better off in this pandemic because we were there and we know the recovery, people are going to need us as well.”
In Winnipeg North, NDP candidate Melissa Chung-Mowat is trying to unseat Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux, who first won the seat in a 2010 byelection after serving six terms as a provincial Liberal MLA.
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Chung-Mowat said she would work harder than Lamoureux on climate change, decolonization and recovering from the pandemic.
“We have a lot of work to do to come out of this better. We don’t want to go back to the way things were and we’ve been without a leader who’s tackling these big issues. It’s not enough to meet people at McDonald’s every weekend for coffee,” she said.
“People do not even know who Kevin Lamoureux is because he doesn’t come to certain parts of our community.”
Lamoureux, who holds regular meetings at a McDonald’s restaurant in his riding, said Chung-Mowat’s comments are unfair.
“For 30 years I’ve been doing and it and I’ve seen other politicians copy it,” Lamoureux said in The Maples. “One of the most common things that come up at the door is people saying how much they appreciate the fact I make myself so accessible.
“So she might want to revisit that comment.”
Lamoureux said he believes Singh is hurting NDP candidates by refusing to rule out support for a Conservative minority government.
“At the end of the day, leaders have to go somewhere. Whether they show up or they don’t show up, it doesn’t change my attitude toward an election,” Lamoureux said.
Anas Kassem, a University of Manitoba graduate with a degree in political science, is running for the Conservatives in Winnipeg North.
Later on Thursday, Singh held a news conference at The Forks, where he appeared with candidates Leah Gazan (Winnipeg Centre) and Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona) after a meeting with local Indigenous leaders.
The leaders didn’t endorse Singh, but praised him for taking the time to meet.
“The significance of making that effort is something everyone should observe and I’m going to encourage other leaders to do something similar,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
Dumas and other Manitoba Indigenous leaders met last week with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, but have yet to meet with Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak shared the podium at The Forks with Dumas and Singh Thursday afternoon. He said it’s imperative to ensure Canada’s treaty obligations are at the forefront of political discussions.
“It is our duty as Indigenous leaders to speak to every candidate because they need to hear from us more than we need to hear from them,” said Settee.
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