OTTAWA — Just hours before the last televised debate of the federal election campaign, Jagmeet Singh is setting the Thanksgiving table for Canadians — and he's trying to make his New Democrats the centrepiece.
Singh, buoyed by good reviews of his performance in Monday's English debate, headed into Thursday night's French clash by laying out the conditions it would take to earn the support of the NDP in a minority Parliament.
Not surprisingly, those conditions largely match his campaign menu — national pharmacare and dental care programs, more affordable housing, eliminating interest on federal student loans, a tax for the super-rich and action on climate change.
But on Thursday, Singh added a new item: changing the way the country votes.
Electoral reform is an especially sore spot for the Liberals, who promised that the 2015 election would be the last under the traditional first-past-the-post electoral system, only to scuttle the recommendations of the committee they put together to examine the issue.
Singh's NDP backs a system of mixed-member proportional representation, which advocates say better reflects the will of voters as expressed in the popular vote. More details were expected at a news conference with NDP hopeful Emilie Taman and former MP Nathan Cullen later in the day on Parliament Hill.
Trudeau, meanwhile, popped in to a pumpkin patch in rural Ottawa, hoping to give a boost to the Liberal candidate who's trying to knock off Conservative attack dog Pierre Poilievre.
But the day's big political story will be the debate, which starts at 8 p.m. ET in Gatineau, Que., within sight of Parliament. It's one last big chance for the six leaders to make their marks before the Oct. 21 election, especially on the volatile electorate in Quebec.
Singh says much of his focus will be on attacking Trudeau, despite polling that suggests the Bloc Quebecois are gaining ground in Quebec at the expense of the New Democrats.
This report by the Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 10, 2019.
The Canadian Press