It was a quick and easy process on Sunday as NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and wife Gurkiran Kaur stopped in their home riding of Burnaby South to cast their ballots in the advance poll.
The couple arrived at the Burnaby Neighbourhood House Community Hall around 9:30 a.m. with a small team of handlers, and each marked their ballots separately before casting their votes into a ballot box together. Singh shared a joke about whether it was an easy decision before making his way out of the voting station, the first of three major stops on Sunday.
“This is an important place for us,” Singh said later of spending the final days of his campaign in the Lower Mainland. “We’ve got a lot of great New Democrats that care deeply about the goals we have … s o I want to build off of that and take that energy across the country.”
After casting their votes, Singh and his wife walked back to the campaign bus parked a short block away, stopping to shake hands with residents and supporters before taking questions from the media.
Flanked by about a dozen young supporters holding bright orange signs, Singh addressed the Liberals’ current line of attack, suggesting a vote for the NDP could be a vote for Conservatives.
“I think for a long time, Liberals and Conservatives have taken people’s votes for granted. They just assume that they’re going to vote either Liberal or vote Conservative and I want to say – no one owns your vote,” said Singh.
“No one has any right to your vote, certainly not the Liberals or the Conservatives. Certainly not the powerful people who have been putting so much pressure and making decisions happen in Ottawa that have benefited the rich but not people.”
Singh also fielded questions about security after a Liberal rally was delayed Saturday evening in Mississauga, Ont. after a security threat prompted Leader Justin Trudeau to wear a bulletproof vest under his shirt and jacket. He condemned threats such as the one made against Trudeau and maintained he felt safe with his security team.
“I’m not too worried about myself … but I do know a lot of people in their lives feel afraid,” said Singh. “There’s been radicalization of people that are targeting new Canadians and immigrants and that’s scary. We know that that’s had some real impacts.
“I’m worried about the young folks – they don’t have all the security and protection that I have, I’m worried about that.”
When asked whether his feelings had changed about partnering with the Conservatives in a minority government scenario, Singh was firm in noting he did not agree with Leader Andrew Scheer’s politics, suggesting the Conservatives’ tax cuts would be accompanied by increases in the costs of services.
“The Conservatives are going to lower people’s taxes a little bit, they are definitely going to do that – they’re not lying about that,” said Singh.
“But what they’re not telling you is when they lower your taxes a little bit, the services you count on are going to cost a lot more. It’s actually going to cost your families a lot more in the long run.”
While much has been made of the way Singh handles himself during confrontations, both with other party leaders and with members of the public, wife Gurkiran said she is “in no way surprised” by his calm and collected demeanour.
“It’s true to who he is, it’s true to his nature,” she said. “Anything comes his way – first, he’ll rationalize it and then he’ll articulate the words. He never gets upset easily either so I’m not in any way surprised.”
Khalid Boudreau, 20, was among the NDP supporters who came out Sunday morning. Boudreau became involved with the NDP during the byelection and this month will be his first time casting a vote in a federal general election.
“What it comes down to, first thing that got me in the doors – I see myself,” he said of why he was voting for Singh, citing his background and upbringing.
Boudreau said what kept him on as an NDP supporter is that the party’s platform includes “regular people” like himself and Singh’s ability to take climate fears, housing concerns and other voter issues and direct them towards action.
“We’re very upset – and channeling that into a positive vision is something that Jagmeet has shown that he excels at,” said Boudreau. “I think that’s what’s drawing people in my age bracket and me toward this campaign.”
Later in the day, Singh was scheduled to appear at a rally in Surrey and a volunteer blitz in Port Moody–Coquitlam.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019