NDP Leader Seizes Liberal Downturn to Push Policy Priorities Forward

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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has confidently expressed his conviction in using his party’s leverage to drive action on their policy priorities. This leverage has been amplified by the noticeable downturn in the recent polls for the Liberals.

Singh, speaking to reporters in British Columbia, voiced the intention of his party to utilize their influence to yield beneficial results for Canadians, enabling the Ottawa government to serve its people effectively. His party has already succeeded in implementing dental care, and they intend to pursue further enhancement of this and other initiatives.

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Since March 2022, the New Democrats have been cemented in a confidence-and-supply agreement. Under this accord, the NDP has pledged to support the Liberal minority until June 2025, which precedes the fixed election date set in October of the same year. They have made this commitment in exchange for policy action to be taken on an array of progressive topics.

With a visible decline in support for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after a concentrated effort to redirect his government over the summer, Singh envisages this as an opportunity to pressurize his counterparts to take action on policy matters that lie beyond the existing agreement.

Singh on Thursday underscored the housing issue as his primary concern. He stated that the party’s primary goal was to promote the construction of affordable housing that can be either rented or purchased.

Certain housing commitments have been woven into the original agreement, such as a top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit, which Singh now proposes to be implemented once more. However, other points on the agenda, like increasing actions to kickstart the Housing Accelerator Fund, are still steps away from fruition.

Since these two parties forged their agreement, Singh has facilitated progress on several policies not previously incorporated in the deal, particularly a rise in the GST rebate.

An early election could be averted by maintaining the NDP’s satisfaction and compliance with the confidence-and-supply arrangement, as Trudeau possibly attempts to hold off a federal campaign as long as possible, hoping for a reversal in fortune.

Kathleen Monk, an ex-NDP strategist and communications director who served under Jack Layton, maintains that the deal has always represented a baseline for policies and serves as an unbounded launchpad for what the party could advocate for.

Monk highlighted that amidst the current crisis of affordability and housing, residents expect politicians to work on their behalf rather than jeopardizing an election. Approaching the midpoint of the confidence-and-supply agreement, Monk observes both parties demonstrating a willingness to collaborate on policies that extend beyond the original terms of the agreement. Her hope is that these initiatives will target the Canadians most in need.

Singh also used his platform on Thursday to express his hope that the government itself would rejoin the housing market. Echoing Monk’s sentiments, he voiced that if the NDP can actualize this, it would be quite significant.

Aside from housing, several important promises from the parliamentary pact remain unfulfilled. Even though not all have specific deadlines, there are five commitments that are yet to be enacted upon before the year concludes, one of which includes dental care expansion for teenagers and seniors.