New Democrats pledge more funds, expansion of language law in Quebec

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SHERBROOKE, Que. — The New Democrats unveiled a sweeping set of policy promises specifically for Quebec Sunday in a bid to re-engage voters there who once upon a time carried the party to Official Opposition status.

The Quebec platform pledges more money for immigration, an expansion of the province’s language laws and increased powers in areas such as environmental assessment and trade agreements.

It also promises to find a way to get Quebec to sign the Constitution, on its own terms.

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Leader Jagmeet Singh says the package speaks to the NDP’s desire to form a progressive partnership with the province in the spirit of federalism.

In 2011, the NDP made historic gains in Quebec, winning nearly 60 seats in a province where previously they’d held just one.

The surge was known as the orange wave, and it’s receded quite a bit since — the party held 14 seats when Parliament dissolved, and has seen one of its Quebec MPs defect to the Greens. They also had to fire another candidate over domestic assault allegations. 

Singh said the document builds on the work of his predecessors, party leaders Tom Mulcair and Jack Layton, though he intends to capture the support of Quebec by being himself.

But Singh said he believes the platform he unveiled Sunday will resonate.

“We can make gains because we have a bold program, we want to address climate change, we want to recognize the importance of Quebec,” he said in French.

“So I have a lot of confidence that we can make gains but we’ll leave the decision up to Quebecers.”

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The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the NDP held less than a dozen seats. At dissolution, they held 14.

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