Reviewing the NDP’s goals for students, racism, and COVID-19
By Craig Allan, Business Manager
“There should be no profit making off of the backs of students in debt.”– Jagmeet Singh, NDP party leader
This interview was conducted before the recent announcement of the upcoming federal election for September 20 and before Singh’s announcement of his upcoming first child.
Since the beginning of October four years ago Jagmeet Singh has been leading the federal New Democratic Party. He became the first visible minority to front a major political party; Singh is a seasoned leader (second only to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) when considering length leading one of Canada’s four federal parties. The Other Press spoke with Singh about what the NDP’s goals are for many current issues including what the NDP will do for post secondary students like those at Douglas College; his views and approaches to systemic racism; his comments on residential schools; and his views on the snap election.
As an attendee of law school Singh knows how crushing student debt can be to a student’s ability to learn. “When I went to law school it was $8,000 a year, now it’s $30,000 a year.” If elected, then the NDP promises to fight for no federal interest on student loans and debt forgiveness for students who are trying to pay off current loans. “There should be no profit making off of the backs of students in debt.” These are all moves that Singh is planning in the hopes of building a Canada that is, in his perspective, “barrier free when it comes to education.”
Systemic racism has dominated the news cycle in the last year. If elected, Singh says that he would look at racism in every facet of the government to root out, in his opinion, the elements of racism that are ingrained in government. “It’s not that it’s complicated; it’s that it is in so many different systems.” Singh states that it is his wish that everyone in Canada feels safe and welcomed.
The NDP leader also believes that Canada needs to do a better job in addressing the concerns of some Indigenous people, in approaching reconciliation, and in how it has addressed residential schools. He is critical of the Liberals and Trudeau’s current plans to address Indigenous issues. He believe that “right now, the Liberals are planning to fail Indigenous people.” He believes that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is the roadmap to reconciliation and wants to better establishment of it in within government policy while also stopping hostile action like suing residential school survivors in court and states that “the only way forward is to fight for justice.”
minority party in a minority government it can be hard for the smaller party of
the coalition to prove what it has done in the union. Singh says that a lot of
the benefits that were given to Canadians during the pandemic were boosted by
NDP backing and needling of the Trudeau government. This includes such items as
increasing the wage subsidy from 10 percent to 75 percent, fighting for the
$2000 CERB over the $1000 that was originally proposed by the Liberal
government, and bringing in the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit.
Singh is hoping that all of
these points can translate into a successful election campaign, but he did
express concerns in coordinating an election during a pandemic when he believes
“a fourth wave is possible.” On top of that, Singh feels that Trudeau’s call
for an election is an ill-willed attempt for the Liberals to win a majority—but
Singh is ready to try reach the top. He is hoping that the work the party has
done will translate into votes at the ballot box.