NDP leader hopeful visits

Chantelle Deacon

Federal NDP leadership hopeful Jagmeet Singh visited Penticton Monday, as the leaders race enters its final days.

Singh met with members at Craft Corner Kitchen, highlighting policies that he feels would benefit Canadians.

"In general free trade has been the focus of all trade agreements," Singh said "Instead of free trade, we should be focusing on fair trade. What I mean by fair trade is making sure that the Canadian interest is put forward. That local opportunities, employment, companies, entrepreneurs are protected, their interests will be protected, that should be our focus."

"Then internationally we should make sure we are on a level playing field, that the same environmental standards, that workers rights are being respected in different jurisdictions,” he said, adding trade agreements should not be about enriching the wealthy.

Singh is an MPP in Ontario and has served as Deputy Leader of the provincial party for the past two years.

Singh shook everyone's hand in the audience before giving a 30-minute speech, that touched on a variety of topics.

"I was in St. John's, Newfoundland for the debate, and there, young people are telling me they couldn't afford to rent a place or buy a place, I thought Atlantic Canada?," Singh asked. "It's an issue there, it's an issue everywhere in Canada."

"It's a result of about two decades of a government that is not invested in a national housing strategy, not put money into building houses, not at all."

Singh has a strong stance on decriminalizing all personal drug possession, which he made headlines with following the leadership debate on Sept. 9.

"If we know that a certain drug is about to become legalized there should be an immediate decriminalization of all personal possession of that controlled substance," Singh said. "The fact that people are still being arrested and incarcerated for something that is going to become legalized by next summer is just unfathomable."

Singh wanted the audience to understand that he will do anything to support fairness and equality in Canada.

"I'm willing to take on corporations that exploit people, I won't back down from a fight," he said.

Online and mail voting for the first ballot of the leadership race begins Sept. 18. A leader will be picked some time in October.

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