Policies for the people is the core of what NDP leader Jagmeet Singh brought to the Okanagan Valley on Saturday.
Hundreds of people filled the salon in the Lakeside Resort where the rally was held, with hundreds more having to wait outside due to maxing out the occupancy limits. Supporters old and young, from across the valley, jammed themselves inside with cheer for their candidates.
The rally was more than just a stump for Singh, as the Okanagan’s own NDP candidates took to the floor to speak their own pieces. South Okanagan – West Kootenay incumbent Richard Cannings was joined by Joan Phillips, the NDP candidate in the Central Okanagan–Similkameen–Nicola riding, Justin Kulik, the NDP candidate in the Kelowna–Lake Country riding, and Harwinder Sandhu, the NDP candidate in North Okanagan – Shuswap.
“Most folks are feeling like they haven’t been recognized, they haven’t been listened to. They’ve been feeling that they’ve been taken for granted,” said Cannings. “But they’re also telling me they’re feeling inspired, and they’re feeling hopeful, because they have heard our leader.”
The rally was a final push in the Okanagan to bring NDP support to bear, particularly in the South Okanagan – West Kootenay riding, where Cannings is deadlocked with Conservative candidate Helena Konanz. Singh reiterated many of his party’s platform positions and campaign promises to the approval of the cheering crowd.
Dental care, cellphone and internet costs, the environment, housing, and other issues that the NDP have made part of their platform this campaign were brought up. With them, the focus on making the rich and powerful pay for their programs such as pharmacare.
“I think about the families that I’ve met who can’t afford the life-saving medications they need, or the medications they need to stay healthy,” said Singh. “I think about a country as rich as ours and that doesn’t make sense that that’s the way things are.”
Throughout the night, Singh was focused on the people, and positioning the NDP against powerful interests, something that he took Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to task for a few times.
“Mr. Trudeau promised something very simple in the 2015 election,” said Singh. “He promised to update the list of countries we use to set the prices for medication. Why wouldn’t he do it? It turns out the Liberal government, over the past four years, has met with the pharmaceutical lobbyists and the insurance lobbyists over 875 times.”
Singh’s rally is his second visit to Penticton this year, after joining Cannings for a Vees’ game on Aug. 28, before the election had been called. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer joined Konanz on her door-knocking campaign in July, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not make a stop in the Okanagan this year. The Prime Minister did join Penticton in 2018 for B.C. Day that year.
Election Day is Monday.
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