OTTAWA — Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is channeling his roots as a member of the Ontario legislature by promising to build a hospital in the city of Brampton if he is elected prime minister.
The commitment, which comes despite the fact hospitals fall squarely within the domain of the provinces, suggests the New Democrats are concentrating their efforts in areas where they have the best chance to win seats.
Although the federal Liberals swept Brampton’s five seats in 2015, Singh is no stranger to the area northwest of Toronto, which he represented as deputy leader of Ontario’s New Democrats. It also has a large south Asian population; at one point, Singh answered a question in Punjabi.
The NDP leader acknowledged the difficulty he could face in fulfilling the promise, given that Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government would ultimately have jurisdiction over the project.
Singh also found himself deflecting questions about the fact the New Democrats still do not have a full slate of candidates, attributing the slow pace to his efforts to increase the party’s diversity.
He will be on hand later tonight in Toronto for the campaign’s first debate with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Green party Leader Elizabeth May. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is not taking part.
The Canadian Press