THUNDER BAY – Either Jagmeet Singh really likes what local candidates Yuk-Sem Won and Chantelle Bryson are doing, or he’s got a hankering for Persians.
For the third time in seven weeks, and the second since the election campaign officially began, the NDP leader paid a visit to Thunder Bay, hosting a rally on Sunday afternoon for supporters at Vicker’s Park, taking shots at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s unwillingness to take on Canada’s ultra-rich.
Asked about his frequent visits to the city during the 2021 campaign, Singh said he wants to let voters in the two ridings, Thunder Bay-Superior North and Thunder Bay-Rainy River, know the NDP cares deeply about the north.
“We care about Thunder Bay. We’ve got incredible candidates here. We’ve got Yuk-Sem, we’ve got Chantelle and they’ve shown what New Democrats do. We fight for people. We fight for you and the things the people in the north care about,” said Singh, who started his day in Sudbury and plans to finish it in Sioux Lookout, where he’ll stage a virtual Facebook event for residents of Nunavut.
“They care about health care. They want to see medication covered.”
Singh, who spent more than a half hour taking selfies with supporters and speaking with potential voters about the issues, is to date the lone federal leader to visit Thunder Bay. Trudeau is rumoured to be coming next week, while Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O’Toole and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul have not yet indicated whether Northwestern Ontario will be on their itineraries ahead of the Sept. 20 election.
“I spoke to folks here who are worried about how much their medication is costing them, how much housing is costing them. We’ve got solutions to those. And while Justin Trudeau has said he’s not going to take on the billionaires, we’ve been really clear. We’re not going to increase taxes or burden the middle class or workers,” Singh said.
“We’re going to make sure that the super wealthy pay their fair share and we can invest in those solutions.”
Singh said the lack of other leaders in the community, or elsewhere in the two expansive ridings, tells a tale in itself.
“Maybe it’s not a priority for them, but for me it’s been a priority and I’m really proud to get out here twice now and just let folks know we’re here for you. We care about what people are going through and we’re going to fight for the things that we need.”
Singh touched on health-care cuts, jobs and the climate crisis during a brief scrum with local media.
Questioned why voters should return the ridings to the NDP fold after six years of Liberal representation, Singh said he hopes voters have seen the light.
“I just know that people have been frustrated. A lot of people have told me that they voted for Justin Trudeau maybe in 2015, maybe 2019, and they’re saying they can’t afford another four years of it because things are getting worse.”
Bryson is running in Thunder Bay-Superior North, up against Liberal incumbent Patty Hajdu, Conservative Joshua Taylor, Green Party hopeful Amanda Moddejonge, People’s Party of Canada candidate Rick Daines and Libertarian Alexander Vodden.
Won is attempting to win Thunder Bay-Rainy River after placing third in 2019, looking to unseat Liberal Marcus Powlowski. Also in the race are Conservative Adelina Pecchia, the Green Party’s Tracey MacKinnon and the PPC’s Alan Aubut.