Jagmeet Singh's custom poutine truck loses wheel on way to pre-debate photo op

Jagmeet Singh's pre-debate photo op hit a bump in the road Thursday -- rather, a hole -- after the NDP leader's custom poutine truck lost a wheel on the way to a Montreal event.

The NDP was forced to delay his appearance by two hours to allow the food truck to be towed to the next event after hitting a pothole.

A repairman could be seen replacing the wheel and pounding with a hammer at the side of the truck, which is painted NDP orange and emblazoned with Singh's face and the words "Punjabi Poutine."

Singh made light of the event on Twitter, writing "Thanks to the people working TIRElessly to get the truck back on the road, we'll still get the poutine to the people."

Later, at a news conference, he joked that perhaps the high-quality cheese curds used in the poutine had been too heavy for the truck.

Singh donned an apron and a pair of gloves as he served up his version of the classic Quebec dish after meeting with local candidates ahead of Thursday evening's French-language leaders debate.

Singh has previously shared his recipe for "Punjabi poutine," which features cubed sweet potatoes, cheese curds and a curry-style gravy made of onions, garlic, ginger and tomatoes.

While poutine serving may be an unusual form of debate prep, Singh said such lighter moments are important on the campaign trail.

"While we're dealing with a lot of really serious issues in this campaign, it's important that we take some time to have fun, to fill our hearts with good energy and positivity and optimism," he said.

The NDP campaign will likely be hoping that the tire incident won't be a metaphor for things to come in a campaign that has already had a rough ride in Quebec in recent years.

The NDP leader has already made several campaign visits to Quebec, where he's hoping to build on the single seat his party won in the province in 2019.

On Thursday, Singh fielded questions about his debate strategy, and why he doesn't appear to be rising significantly in the polls in the province despite an apparent dip in support for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Singh maintained that he would continue to share his plan with Quebecers on issues they care about, such as the environment and the ongoing housing crisis.

"We have a plan to make the super wealthy pay their fair share and invest in the problems that people are dealing with and solve them, which is housing, making sure we increase our investments in health care, making sure we fight the climate crisis," he said.

On Thursday, the NDP leader appeared to be well-received as he led his volunteers in singing and dancing to his campaign slogan and posed for selfies with a crowd of supporters.

His poutine, as well, appeared to be getting good reviews.

"It's like Indian food mixed with poutine," said Fannie Dionne, a local resident who came by in the hopes of meeting her local NDP candidate.

"It's really good."

Here’s the poutine truck. The back right wheel fell off. @theJagmeetSingh plans to hand out a curry gravy, sweet potato poutine of his creation to people. #elxn44 #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/C2uPKRcuQT

— Kevin Gallagher (@KGallagherCTV) September 2, 2021

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 2, 2021