NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has spent the last couple of days in Quebec.
On Thursday, he held a town hall-style meeting in Montreal, and Friday, he met with the mayor of Quebec City.
Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume complimented the federal leader, saying his French is “excellent.”
Originally from Windsor, Ont., Singh said he’s self-taught out of a love for the French language. His mission this week in Quebec before the writ drops, he said, is to inform Quebecers of the NDP’s platform.
The problem is the NDP hasn’t been resonating so far. Recent polls show Singh’s party trailing behind the Liberals and Conservatives and even though the campaign could start any day, the NDP is still struggling to find candidates.
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According to the party’s own website, it has only recruited candidates for half of the 338 federal ridings and only 28 of 78 ridings in Quebec.
“There are always challenges and we’re working very hard,” Singh said.
Singh explained that one of those challenges is finding more women and minorities. One Montreal candidate said that is an essential NDP value.
“That, for me, is very important. It’s about inclusiveness, about openness, and no matter what the polls say, no matter what are the statistics, I’m very confident that we’re going to lead a great campaign,” Chu Anh Pham, the NDP candidate in Honoré Mercier, told Global News Morning.
In a new ad released this week, Singh also tries to connect to Quebecers on the identity issue.
“I’m not like the others. Like you, I’m proud of my identity,” he says.
Singh said he will not contest Bill 21, Quebec’s recent religious symbols ban, because it falls under provincial jurisdiction. Instead, he has another strategy.
“I’m hoping that my presence, here in Quebec and across Canada, shows people that you can be who you are and fight for a better province and a better country,” Singh said.
He has until election day on October 21 to prove he’s up to the task.
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