''Kingmaker'' Singh promises to be ''constructive'' in formation of Canadian govt

OTTAWA: Indian-origin Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh, who has emerged as the “kingmaker” after the general election, on Tuesday promised that his New Democratic Party would be “constructive” in the formation of the new minority government by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and would approach the issue with “open minds and an open heart”.

''Kingmaker'' Singh promises to be ''constructive'' in formation of Canadian govt

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh speaks with reporters following the results of the 2019 federal election in Burnaby, British Columbia. AP/PTI

Ottawa, October 23

Indian-origin Canadian politician Jagmeet Singh, who has emerged as the “kingmaker” after the general election, on Tuesday promised that his New Democratic Party would be “constructive” in the formation of the new minority government by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and would approach the issue with “open minds and an open heart”.

As Trudeau returned to the nation’s capital on Tuesday to begin planning for his second term, his Liberal Party expressed confidence that common ground could be found with the Opposition parties on affordability issues and climate change action, leading to a “stable and working” minority Parliament.

Singh, who was himself a prime ministerial contender, said his party is open to all possibilities: a formal deal to prop up the Liberals, a power-sharing coalition, or to simply pressure them on their policy wish list on a vote-to-vote basis, the Toronto Star newspaper reported.

“This minority government gives us the chance to be able to fight for the things that we have laid out all along this campaign,” Singh told reporters in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Singh, the first non-white leader of a federal political party in Canada has congratulated Trudeau, 47, on his win and said he spoke to him earlier in the day. 

Singh’s NDP has won 24 seats this time. Being able to hold leverage in the minority Parliament is a silver lining for Singh, who surpassed expectations in this campaign but still saw his party lose 13 seats, the report said.

“The New Democratic Party will be constructive, will respect the choices that Canadians have made, and we’ll approach building the new parliament with open minds and an open heart,” the 40-year-old criminal lawyer-turned politician, said.

“The results show a broken electoral system and it’s certainly clear we need to fix it. I’ve long called for and will continue to call for true electoral reform,” The Canadian Press quoted his as saying.

Singh said he plans to push for a proportional representation system, which would have given his party more seats based on its 16 per cent share of the popular vote.

In Monday’s Canadian general election, the results of which were declared on Tuesday, the Liberal Party bagged 157 seats, the opposition Conservative 121, Bloc Quebecois 32, NDP 24, Green Party 3 and one Independent.

Trudeau requires at least 13 legislators from his left-leaning rival parties to reach the ‘magic number’ of 170 to form a Liberal Party-led minority government in the 338-seat Parliament.

As they weighed the results on Tuesday, Liberals felt confident they could win the support of the New Democrats, with 24 seats, or the Bloc Quebecois, at 32 seats, on an issue-by-issue basis.

“There’s definitely potential for a stable and working minority that works with other parties and delivers on our priorities,” said one strategist, who spoke on background.  — PTI

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