NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said in an interview on Monday that plunging Canada into an early election was “not an option” he’s considering despite claiming that his party could potentially unseat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Singh told Saltwire’s Thinking Out Loud with Sheldon MacLeod that he intends to continue his party’s coalition with the ruling Liberals.
“We know that people need help right now so we’re going to spend the summer trying to get more help to people to deal with the inflation and we’re going to use our power to hold the government to account,” said Singh.
“We can do all this important work more effectively right now rather than plunging the country in a month or two month long election while people suffer and don’t get any help. That’s not an option for me.”
In March, Trudeau and Singh announced a supply and confidence deal which would see the minority Liberals remain in power for the next three years in exchange for NDP policy promises. In exchange for Singh’s support, the Trudeau government announced a universal dental plan for Canadians which is expected to go into effect this year.
Singh claimed that in the event of an election now, the NDP could gain seats due to the dwindling support for the Trudeau government.
“The knee jerk reaction and maybe the self serving political opportunity that people would see here is call an election and we would win more seats. We probably would win more seats if we called an election right now at this point in time when people are losing trust in the Liberal government,” said Singh.
“(But) I feel its my job to use the power I have responsibly to benefit people and we can do that by using the existing tools that we have.”
A recent poll by Abacus Data found that 49% of Canadians think that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Additionally, government approval has dwindles to 38% with 45% of Canadians saying they disapprove of the Liberals’ performance.
The Conservatives are currently leading with regard to voting intention. 34% of Canadians said they would support a Conservative candidate if an election was held tomorrow while only 30% said the same to the Liberals.
Support for the NDP has also declined to 18% down from 21% earlier this month.
During an Ontario election event in Brampton, Singh fled a group of Sikh protesters who attempted to question the NDP leader over his support of the Liberals.
Videos posted to social media show Singh entering a black SUV and driving away as demonstrators shout “don’t sell out.”