Jagmeet Singh vows to keep up Trans Mountain fight in minority Parliament

Leader would not say whether the expansion project will be a bargaining chip in talks with Liberals

The morning after Canada’s 43rd federal election, Jagmeet Singh vowed to keep fighting the Trans Mountain expansion project.

But the NDP leader and Burnaby South MP acknowledged that he’ll be returning to a Parliament with a majority of fellow MPs representing the two largest parties – Liberal and Conservative – which support the twinning of the pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby.

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“I have been opposed to Trans Mountain. I will continue to be opposed to it, and I want real action on fighting the climate crisis,” he said.

Singh’s New Democrats will return to Ottawa with 24 elected members. The Liberals won 157 seats, followed by 121 Conservatives, 32 Bloc Quebecois, three Greens and independent (and former Liberal cabinet minister) Jody Wilson-Raybould. 

Thanks to the Liberals falling short of a 170-seat majority, the NDP could wield newfound power in Parliament. 

Asked whether he would pursue a coalition government with the Liberals or another arrangment to support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, Singh said he didn’t want to negotiate in the media. 

“Everything's on the table ... We're not ruling out anything.”

While he vowed to continue fighting for his party’s policy goals on pharmacare, housing, climate change, electoral reform and more, Singh acknowledged Canadians did not elect a New Democratic government. 

“Canadians have made that choice,” he said. “I respect that choice.”

Singh held onto his Burnaby South seat by a slimmer margin than in the Feb. 25 byelection, which saw him win by more than 12 percentage points. By the end of the night, however, he remained six percentage points and more than 2,800 votes ahead of his Conservative challenger, Jay Shin. 

Burnaby stands to benefit from having a national leader who holds the balance of power representing the community, according to Burnaby councillor and chair of the Metro Vancouver board Sav Dhaliwal. 

“He will know what the local governments need, whether it's transit, whether it's housing, whether it’s climate change ... We will have a direct pipeline to Ottawa,” he said. 

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