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Canada  

NDP set to pick leader

The four federal NDP leadership hopefuls had one last chance Sunday to make their case to party voters before balloting begins to select a replacement for outgoing leader Thomas Mulcair.

And all four said they are the candidate to unseat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.

Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, Quebec MP Guy Caron and Ontario MP Charlie Angus and Ontario legislature member Jagmeet Singh took part in a leadership showcase Sunday at a caucus retreat. Each candidate had 22 minutes to present their plan for the federal party and all kept their verbal barbs targeted at Trudeau's Liberals, not each other.

Singh, the perceived frontrunner, pitched himself as the candidate who can square off against Trudeau to win in 2019.

"They told us we couldn't win in the suburbs and we did," he said. "In Alberta and British Columbia we were told we'd never win government, but Rachel Notley and John Horgan (did). We've also been told that the NDP will never form the federal government. But together, we will."

Angus's presentation focused on reconciliation with Indigenous communities, cutting student debt and economic inequality. Standing with a worker from the Cami automotive plant in Ingersoll, Ont., he vowed to fight corporate interests, and the Trudeau government, to stand up for workers.

"They may have the lobbyists, the money and the inside track, but our history in the New Democratic Party, in the labour movement, in the women's movement, in the environmental movement, at the grassroots has proven time and time and time again that people have the power to make change," Angus said.

Ashton told the crowd that if she led an NDP government she would eliminate tuition fees, create a national childcare system and a Crown corporation to fight climate change. She told party members that the NDP must be "bold and progressive" if it's going to be successful.

Caron pledged to fight the Trudeau government with a substance over style approach. The party won't form government if it can't bolster its seat count in Quebec, he added. The NDP currently holds 16 seats in Quebec, well below the 59 it claimed in its historic breakthrough in the province in 2011 under Jack Layton's leadership.

Members will vote for Mulcair's successor via mail-in or online voting starting today, with results to be announced in early October.



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