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first_imgBURNABY (NEWS 1130) – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was officially nominated to run for a seat in October’s federal election Friday night.When NEWS 1130 spoke with him afterward, the newly-nominated candidate for Burnaby-South answered questions about the challenges the party is facing when it comes to slating candidates and fundraising.There are 338 seats to fill in the federal election. So far, the NDP has fewer than 180 people running, which is the lowest number of the major parties. New Democrats raised less money than the Green Party last quarter, while the Liberals and Conservatives raked in donations in record numbers.NEWS 1130: How do you explain the fact that the NDP has far fewer candidates nominated than the other parties?Jagmeet Singh: We want to change the status quo. Right now the status quo is we see women are not represented in politics, they’re far underrepresented based on population. We don’t see very many marginalized people in politics, people from the LGBTQ community, from other racialized communities. We don’t think that should be the way things are. And so, to change that it’s going to take a lot of work.We have a really thorough process where we try to recruit people that are not actually represented in politics. Often the most qualified women don’t see themselves reflected, so they don’t think that they’re good candidates. It takes a lot of work to get them to be candidates, to recruit them, to encourage them. Same thing for a lot of other minority communities. So, we take a lot of effort. The results have shown. We’ve got 51 per cent of our candidates, more than half our candidates, are women. We’ve got lots of folks who are Indigenous, we’ve got lots of racialized people. It takes a lot of work to try and do things differently – that’s why it’s taken us longer.Also, we’ve got a nomination process. We can’t actually appoint people. Where the other parties have the ability to directly nominate someone and make them the candidate, we actually have to go through a democratic process at the riding level. Those are two of the things that set us apart. I’m proud of those differences and it means it’s going to take us a little bit longer.When will the nomination process for New Democrats be complete?We’re going to have 338 candidates for people to vote for come election time, really confident about that.What do you have to say to party members who have been venting their frustration over the apparent lag in choosing candidates?We’ve got a process where we want to make sure everyone follows the same rules and most importantly that they believe in the values that we have. We’ve got lots of candidates ready to go. It’s just a matter of our process taking a little bit longer and it’s for a good cause. It’s to make sure that we’ve got the best and that we’ve got people that really follow and believe in our values.So, the ultimate goal for the NDP is to have 50 per cent women run in the upcoming federal election?Absolutely, we want 50 per cent or more women. That’s very important for me personally. If we don’t put in the effort now: How are we going to get the results? We’ve seen historically women aren’t represented in politics. We can’t just hope that things will be different, it’s going to take work. And for us, that means making sure we do everything possible to nominate as many women as possible so that we can get women elected into Parliament. Without taking the effort it’s not going to change. And that’s why we’re doing things differently. I’ve made this a priority for me and the results are showing.Another area where the NDP is facing criticism is fundraising. Why is the NDP doing so poorly compared to other parties?I can give you one example. The Liberals and Conservatives are where multi-billionaires think they have the best shot. So SNC-Lavalin, the company that’s under a lot of scrutiny in the scandal, donated illegally to both Liberals and Conservatives and they were fined for doing so. Most recently, Axor was also fined. They also donated thousands and thousands of dollars to both the Liberals and the Conservatives. They went through their company and their CEO basically got staff to donate illegally and reimbursed them through the company. Basically, billionaire companies like these, they believe that the Liberals and Conservatives have got their back. And that’s the history.Both parties have consistently chosen to make life easier for multi-billionaires and harder for everyone else. And we’re not the same thing. We actually are a people’s party. We’re for working class, everyday, middle-class families. That’s who we represent and so it’s harder for us to get the funds. These status quo parties have different access. We don’t have the same. It means we’re actually fueled by and funded by people, everyday people. That’s what makes us different and I’m proud of that.So far this election looks like a two horse race between the Liberals and the Conservatives. What does the NDP need to do to change this?It is a two horse race. It’s between the Liberals and Conservative parties of the status quo, parties that have long supported multi-billionaires; parties that have got a long track record of putting the needs of multi-billionaires ahead of people – and us, the working-class party, the party of middle-class Canadians.So it is a two horse race. You can choose the status quo parties: the ones that have continued to put Canada into the position it’s in right now; the ones that have chosen to let Telecom companies rip off Canadians; the ones who have chosen to make it hard to find a home; the ones that have chosen to cut funding into healthcare. Or, they can choose New Democrats, the party that believes in expanding our healthcare. We want to bring in medication coverage for all. Whenever we’ve seen increases in services for Canadians it’s been when New Democrats have been in a position of power.If you vote for a New Democrat, you get someone who’s going to fight for you, on your side. Who’s going to expand the services that you and your family need. That’s what I’m committed to show folks. That’s what I’m confident, during the campaign, people will see.With files from the Canadian Presslast_img read more