Jagmeet Singh continues Alberta tour with stop in Edmonton

The federal leader of the NDP continued his tour of Alberta with a stop in Edmonton on Sunday.

Jagmeet Singh visited Edmonton as the second stop for his three-day tour of the province after visiting Calgary on Saturday.

The politician visited the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market with Edmonton Strathcona MP Heather McPherson – the only sitting MP from his party in the province. While there, he spoke with Edmontonians and took questions from the media.

No federal election has been called, but recent visits in Alberta from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Erin O’Toole have fuelled speculation the writ could be dropped.

When asked about if he believes an election was coming, Singh said the party is ready should an election be called.

“I have always said I don’t think we should be going to an election. We should be getting the help people need,” he said. “Justin Trudeau has promised a lot of things– let’s do that work.

“I want to get back to work. My focus is on getting people the help they need.”

Singh also addressed the need to diversify Alberta’s economy to help get people back to work in a sustainable way.

“People are worried about their future when it comes to jobs. People are telling me that they want to see investments in diversification,” Singh told media.

“The economy here in Alberta needs to be diversified so workers have an opportunity to live a good life, to earn a good living and aren’t so worried about the precarity of their jobs.”

The NDP leader also spoke about how the party is focused on ensuring Canada has a strong economic recovery from COVID-19 and that government aid is focused on supporting workers, not corporations.

“In Alberta things have been already bad, even before the pandemic,” he said. “We saw in the pandemic people didn’t have access to medication and lost access to benefits.

“Everyone in our country should have those supports.”

He added that the federal government should be using Alberta energy workers who are short on work right now to help retrofit buildings and remediating oil wells.

Singh was also asked about his thoughts regarding Alberta’s referendum on equalization. He said it was “ironic” that Premier Jason Kenney was fighting against the formula for equalization when he helped create it during his career as a federal politician. The NDP leader said he would be open to ensuring Alberta got a fair deal.

“We are very open to making sure there is a fair transfer and making sure that Alberta gets its fair share, that all provinces are dealt with fairly,” SIngh responded.

Singh also meet with Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations Grand Chief Vernon Watchmaker and the Metis Settlements General Council on Sunday. Those events were closed to the public.