NDP launch federal election campaign in 'strategic' London, Ont.
Published Wednesday, September 11, 2019 4:52PM EDT
Leader Jagmeet Singh launched the NDP's federal election campaign in London, Ont. Wednesday morning.
It’s being seen as an indicator of how the NDP will approach this entire campaign, concentrating on strategic areas with what are perceived to be winnable seats.
Singh's campaign launch focused on his Southwestern Ontario connections. He told a gathering of supporters at the Goodwill Industries headquarters on Horton Street that he was born in Windsor and attended Western University for five years.
He told the crowd he held multiple jobs while studying and also cared for his younger brother during that period.
"It was during that time that a lot of friends and family stepped up and helped me out. They helped out with food and support. And it reminded me of a very Canadian value. I wouldn't have gotten through those tough times without their support and that's what Canadians believe in."
During the campaign launch, Singh was questioned by media members about issues that directly impact London, including his commitment to terminate the $15B deal General Dynamics Land Systems signed with Saudi Arabia for the purchase of light armoured vehicles, which raises concerns about potential job losses.
Singh believes those jobs can be protected, "Those hard-working people should continue to have those contracts here in Canada. Or in jurisdictions where there's not an oppressive regime like there is in Saudi Arabia."
He's also vowing to tackle the growing mental health and addictions challenges many communities are facing, including the opioid crisis.
"On day one of a New Democratic government we would declare a public health emergency nationally, which would open up a lot of services and supports that would provide care at the front lines."
The NDP entered the campaign with no candidates named in almost 100 of the 338 ridings across the nation and questions have been raised about whether the Green Party could surpass the NDP seat total in parliament.
But the party sees opportunity in London. London-Fanshawe was most recently held by the NDP's Irene Mathyssen and is now being contested by her daughter, Lindsay Mathyssen.
"I get to go door-to-door and I hear every day people are saying to me, 'Irene Mathyssen's office helped me. They were for me when I needed them.’"
London West should be a hotly contested riding, with Liberal incumbent Kate Young, Conservative Liz Snelgrove and the NDP's Shawna Lewkowitz all viewed as strong candidates.
1.4588100Lewkowitz says she’s up for the challenge, "I'm well known in the community and we're getting a great response at the door. So I’m excited about the race in London West."