Where is Jagmeet Singh?

Plain Rhetoric
By Bill McQuarrie
June 12, 2018 - 5:00am
Image Credit: The Canadian Press

AS A RESULT of the Trump debacle at last weekend’s G7 meeting, I have a number of questions and concerns and the first one is a bit like the “Where’s Waldo” game. This time though, it’s “Where’s Jagmeet Singh,” leader of the federal NDP party?

Back on May 23, Mr. Singh urged the Liberal government to stand up to “the bully, President Trump.” Then last week, when asked if he’d be in favour of Trump’s suggestion of bilateral instead of multilateral NAFTA negotiations, Singh took a stance contrary to both Canada and Mexico, stating he’d be open to negotiating a bilateral agreement with the Americans.

These statements were all prior to Trump’s infantile outburst on Saturday where he slammed Canada and Prime Minister Trudeau — outbursts that have now expanded to include all G7 allies that have voiced their support for the position and words of Prime Minister Trudeau.

It’s a very difficult and dangerous time for Canada and you know we are facing tough times when conservatives like Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney and Andrew Scheer are speaking out in defense of Trudeau. But times like this call for unity and common purpose and I would expect nothing less from these past and current national and provincial leaders.

So where is Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP party? At the time of writing — June 11 — I’ve heard nothing from Mr. Singh, a man who aspires to be the leader of Canada. It is possible that as you read this on Tuesday, he has finally taken a position but his silence over the weekend has been noted and it concerns me.

The leaders of France, Germany, England and the EU have all spoken out in the defense of Canada and Trudeau. Even a few U.S. republican senators and congressmen have stepped up to the plate, yet I have heard nothing from the Canadian leader of the NDP and I’m disappointed.

Mr. Singh, who has led the NDP for eight months, still hasn’t considered it necessary to run for a seat in the House and now seems unable to quickly and firmly respond to this trade crisis. These are not actions that define a leader and anything said now is likely to be seen as too little, too late.

Previously, Singh addressed the issues of protecting jobs and workers when it came to NAFTA and is rightly concerned about what will happen. But NAFTA is on life support, the threat of a global trade war has never been stronger, America’s leader is behaving more like a despot then a president and we need solutions not silence.

Some will say it’s not our problem. Yet on a local level, have you considered what the lack of a softwood agreement would have on our economy? What will happen to Domtar if the US imposes tariffs on pulp and paper exports to the U.S.? Imagine for a moment the consequences of a tariff on copper.

We talk of building a diversified economy, sort of an economic shock absorber for Kamloops but have done little to make it happen. It’s a long term, daring and risky initiative to plan and commit to changing the way our local economy is structured and along the way, the path to success will come with setbacks and failures. For politicians more concerned about a “safe” image or where re-election is more important than the long-term health of our local economy, talk is all we will continue to get.

As a result and because of our own inactions, we are suddenly very vulnerable to the lying, irresponsible and petulant American president who knows or cares nothing about the world or anyone else other than himself. We didn’t have to be so helpless but we are and for the most part, we arrived at this time and place by choice.