Singh rejects more extreme NDP political resolutions – such as scrapping the military
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is backing several controversial proposals from grassroots members of the party while rejecting the more extreme ones – including a call to abolish the military – ahead of this weekend’s political congress.
Singh’s tightrope walker swings him between the party base and the general Canadian public, in a bid to please both of them to propel the New Democrats above their fourth place in the House of Commons in an election that could take place this year.
A resolution from the Spadina-Fort York Riding Association of the NDP calls for the “phasing out” of the Canadian Armed Forces and proposes to retrain service members for public service positions.
“I don’t agree,” Singh said in a virtual press conference Wednesday.
He said the military provided critical support in long-term care homes during COVID-19 outbreaks last year; he has since called for new deployments to help with the vaccine rollout.
Singh declined to take a position on possible policy elements requiring the removal of all public statues of Sir John A. Macdonald and the addition of Indigenous symbols to the Canadian flag. He said he sympathized with the ideas behind them.
“We need to be very aware of the message that certain monuments and statues send to public spaces, and be open to movement over time,” Singh said.
If the legacies symbolized by a particular figure, image or building name are not welcoming or respect “indigenous peoples and diversity,” they may need to be relocated, redesigned or renamed. he declares.
“There will always be a place to remember our history, and sometimes that place is perhaps best served in a museum or in history books, and not always in public places.”
Macdonald was the first prime minister of Canada, but his role in establishing colonial systems, including residential schools, led to calls for the disappearance of several statues of him across the country.
Support opposition to Quebec Bill 21
Singh also said he supports a motion for a resolution condemning Quebec’s Bill 21, which bans religious symbols such as turbans, kippas and hijabs for government employees deemed to be in positions of authority. , including police officers and teachers.
The law remains very popular in Quebec – a province where the NDP hopes to make electoral gains beyond its current seat there.
Singh called the law “discriminatory”, especially against women, but recognized the importance of separating church and state.
NDP MPs across the country voted on more than 400 proposed resolutions to determine which one will be on the shortlist of 70 delegates delegates will vote on at the party’s first political convention since the 2019 federal election, which will take place from Friday to Sunday.