Jagmeet Singh listens as an attendee asks a question about dual citizenship at an event put on by the federal NDP leadership contender at Penticton’s Craft Corner Kitchen Monday afternoon. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

NDP leadership frontrunner hits Penticton

Jagmeet Singh spent an hour and a half in Craft Corner Kitchen speaking with local NDP supporters

Following a debate among federal NDP leadership candidates Sunday, perceived frontrunner Jagmeet Singh paid a visit to a Penticton restaurant Monday evening.

Singh spoke to a crowd of about 40 supporters at the Craft Corner Kitchen — the same place Premier John Horgan campaigned at in the spring with the B.C. NDP — on topics ranging from auto insurance to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

In his introduction, Singh, a member of provincial parliament in Ontario, spoke to his experience with racism growing up.

“As I grew older, there was a lot of physical confrontations, people would approach me and physically want to fight me because I look different,” Singh told the crowd. “But what it taught me, though, because I thought that was really unfair to be treated differently just because of the way I looked, it made me sensitive to unfairness. I started noticing it around me.”

With North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations currently underway, Singh said he is interested in, beyond free trade, seeing more fair trade to and from Canada, protecting workers and the environment in trade deals.

“With respect to local industries like the wine industry, agricultural industries, in general we need to make sure that our trade agreements protect agriculture, protect local economies, there’s a big issue around supply management when it comes to our dairy farmers,” Singh said.

“We need to protect what we have here in Canada and make sure that our local economy is protected in any agreement.”

Prompted by an attendee on his policy regarding post-secondary tuition fees, Singh said he estimates for publicly funded university would run from $10 billion to upwards of $20 billion per year, to which another attendee interjected, it would be a “pretty good investment.”

Related: NDP leadership hopefuls fight it out for support at last debate

Related: Federal NDP triples membership

“Incredible investment. Exactly,” Singh said, noting one of the major developing resources in the digital age is data and information.

“When a corporation funds research, they own the research. They own that knowledge, that information, so it can’t be used by the public good; it can’t be something we share and give to our entrepreneurs so that we can take advantage of it, developing technologies.

“If we publicly fund universities, then all the research would be publicly funded, we can share that information, we can use it as a public good.”

Singh also took advantage of his adeptness at social media, taking selfies with the crowd and with individuals, and he appeared at ease with the crowd.

“I’m just hanging out here in Penticton with a couple of friends,” Singh called into his cell phone’s video recorder, as he spun around to reveal a cheering crowd beside him.

The event followed the final debate among federal NDP leadership hopefuls in a race of four candidates in which Singh claims to have raised the most new memberships.

Singh is widely believed to be the frontrunner for the race, also garnering plenty of caucus endorsements — while South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings was present for the event, he declined to endorse Singh or any other candidate.

Related: Federal NDP leadership candidate coming to Penticton

While Cannings indicated he is inclined toward a “big tent” style of NDP, which would appeal to a broader base — both Guy Caron and Singh fall under that tent — he said he also had respect for the two more activist and roots candidates Niki Ashton and Charlie Angus.

If Singh wins, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, once the subject of age-related attack ads, would be the oldest leader of the three major parties, with recently elected Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer also early in his career.

Following his appearance in Penticton, Singh headed to Merritt.

Just Posted

The Kelowna Rockets Down Under fan connection

Three bus loads of workers from around the globe gave the Rockets an edge Wednesday

Updated: Accused in Kelowna triple murder in court today

Jacob Forman has been in custody since he was arrested and charged with second degree murder

UBCO professor awarded research chair for work with egg industry

Nathan Pelletier’s looking to improve efficiencies and reduce environmental impact of egg industry

Stewart says experience counts in Kelowna West

With a provincial byelection now set for Feb. 14, we hear from the candidates involved

Big White hits record number of visitors

The resort welcomed 495 more Australian guests this year during the holiday period than last

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Toronto man charged in double homicide

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Carpet bowlers have been excluded from BC 55+ Games and Canada 55+ Games

Gold medal carpet bowling winners not able to defend their titles in 2018

UPDATE: Police launch website for unsolved murder of 13-year old B.C. girl

IHIT say no one has been arrested or charged in connection with Marrisa Shen’s death

Rural B.C. students score visit with Canadiens netminder Carey Price

Two students from the Caiboo Chilcotin can hardly wait to meet hometown hero Carey Price in Montreal.

VIDEO: Elk parade on Vancouver Island is awesome sight

They’re out in force for a morning stroll. Check out some of Youbou’s famous elk.

North Delta’s Colton Hasebe named BC Children’s Hospital Foundation’s 2018 Champion Child

Colton takes the reins from 2107 Champion Child and Tsawwassen resident Taylin McGill

LIVE: B.C. announces anti-racism funding

Ravi Kahlon said money will go to B.C. Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) program

Dube, Foote pace Rockets to O.T. win

World junior gold medalists key in 4-3 victory Wednesday over Lethbridge

Most Read