BLACK PRESS FILE PHOTO The new federal NDP leader is 38-year-old Jagmeet Singh.

North Island MP happy about new party leader

Jagmeet Singh won NDP leadership Oct. 3

Rachel Blaney, the North Island – Powell River Member of Parliament, is excited about the federal NDP’s new party leader.

“We are very excited to have finally got this race completed and to have such a dynamic and exciting leader,” said Blaney.

The NDP party leadership race came to a close on Sunday, Oct. 3, when the party elected 38-year-old Jagmeet Singh.

“He isn’t just bringing renewal to the party, he is creating momentum for progressive values across the country,” said Blaney.

Singh is a criminal lawyer from Scarborough Ontario, and in 2011 he became the first Sikh to sit in Ontario’s legislature.

His win as party leader also makes this the first time in Canadian history a visible minority candidate has been elected leader of a major federal political party.

“We’ve just had our first caucus meeting and it was extremely positive – I’m glad to be working with someone who is focused on inclusion and on inspiration,” said Blaney, adding “and he is someone who is listening to the needs of Canadians and making sure that what we are talking about in terms of policy, resonates with people.”

With more than 50 per cent of the vote, Singh beat Northern Ontario MP Charlie Angus, Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, and Quebec MP Guy Caron for the leadership position.

Singh may also be familiar to many people around the world after his response to an anti-muslim heckler during a meet-and-greet was captured in a viral video that showed him responding repeatedly with the phrase, “We welcome you, we love you.”

“I think it’s important that he really brings to all of us the ability to build an economy, and how we are going to build a country for everyone, not just the wealthy and the well-connected,” said Blaney.

“I am very happy to have him here with us.”

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