Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has lost touch with the struggles of Canadians, while Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre only pretends to care about regular people, federal New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh said Sunday.
Singh took political swings at his two leadership counterparts during a speech to more than 700 delegates attending the British Columbia NDP convention.
Poilievre’s public concern about affordability issues is an “act,” and Trudeau doesn’t understand what Canadians are going through with high living costs, he said.
“I have seen Trudeau’s government up close,” said Singh, whose New Democrats are in a confidence and supply agreement with the Liberal minority government.
“I shouldn’t be mean, but one of our MPs has described working with the Liberals like wrestling eels that are soaked in oil,” he said.
The Liberals spend much of their time trying to get away from issues rather than meeting them head on, Singh said.
“Trudeau’s out of touch Liberals, they delay and disappoint,” he said. “The reason is Trudeau doesn’t get what people are going through. He only acts when he is forced to, or when his political future is on the line.”
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Poilievre, meanwhile, says he wants to help ordinary Canadians facing affordability challenges, but Conservatives are known for imposing cuts on public services, Singh told the provincial delegates in Victoria.
“With Pierre Poilievre, it is all an act,” he said. “He would make life so much harder for people. He claims to care about working people, but you never see Pierre Poilievre taking on rich CEOs.”
Singh said his New Democrats are pushing the Liberal government to bring in a dental care coverage program for all Canadians this year and will continue fighting for a universal Pharmacare program to cover prescription costs for everyone.
“I can promise you we will keep on fighting until the end to get the best results we can for people while we have this position of power in this minority government.”
But it’s not a “fun fight,” Singh added.
“We’ve got a fight against establishment Liberals and corporate Conservatives every day.”
B.C. New Democrats were at the convention this weekend debating policy and mapping strategy ahead of next year’s provincial election.
Premier David Eby told delegates on Saturday that his NDP government will focus on building more affordable homes and fighting climate change.
The government’s efforts to meet environmental goals will involve keeping a provincial carbon pricing program, Eby said, despite promises by the Opposition BC United to drop B.C.’s carbon tax if the federal Conservatives form government.
The delegates were set to debate several emergency motions later Sunday, including one aimed at extending federal heat pump rebates in B.C. and others titled “Saving Lives in Gaza and Israel” and “Fighting Islamophobia and Antisemitism in B.C.”
Outside the convention hall, about 100 protesters were shouting “Free Palestine,” with some lying silent on the ground covered in white sheets stained with red.
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