• James Armstrong

NDP leader visits Coteau-du-Lac during tour of Quebec


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (right) joined Salaberry-Suroît NDP MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach for a brief stop in Coteau-du-Lac August 17 to meet with area residents ahead of the upcoming federal election.

The federal New Democratic Party (NDP) leader, Jagmeet Singh, paid a visit to the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region, stopping in Coteau-du-Lac on Friday, August 17.

“Our day started with a tour of the company Technostrobe,” said NDP MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach as she introduced Singh during a press conference marking the occasion of his visit. Quach is the federal NDP Member of Parliament for the riding of Salaberry-Suroît. Technostrobe is a Quebec company that produces light-emitting diode (LED) obstruction lighting solutions for wind farm and communication towers around the world. In her opening remarks, Quach pointed out the area has many businesses related to renewable energy and the region has benefited from the emergence of a renewable energy economy through employment opportunities.

Renewable energy economy

“Our theme is the environment and I really want to make the contrast between us, the New Democrats and the federal Liberal government,” said Singh adding, “We must invest in renewable energy, clean energy. We can create good jobs in that sector. It is possible to promote the economy and the environment.”

He said the economy and the environment are often presented as having to choose one over the other in terms of economic growth and employment.

“We must support both. We have to promote a green economy,” said Singh citing Technostrobe as an example. “We have to stop supporting the petroleum sector with grants and in place of that, invest in a green economy.”

Singh also emphasized the importance of protecting the environment as he thanked citizen-based environmental protection and preservation organizations for their ongoing efforts.

“We must always protect our lakes, streams, rivers and waterways,” he said. Katherine Massam, a member of Citoyens Au Courant, a grassroots organization concerned about the continued use of pipelines and trains to transport fossil fuel products across the region, was also on hand for the press conference.

“I think it’s great that he came to Quebec and focused on the environment,” said Massam, adding she was also impressed with Singh’s stance opposing the Liberal government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline.

PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

Citoyens au courant member Katherine Massam (centre) describes the threat the Enbridge pipeline poses to potable water resources of the Ottawa River to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh (left) and Salaberry-Suroît NDP MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach.

Ending reliance on fossil fuels

When asked how the NDP plans to bring about an end to our reliance on fossil fuels, Singh responded, “There are two elements – the increasing severity of environmental disasters such as the flooding we have seen in Quebec, and the forest fires across the country and in British Columbia.” The second element, he said, was commitment to building a green economy by ending the production and sale of vehicles and equipment that rely on fossil fuels.

“We know that other countries have committed to ending the sale of fossil fuel burning vehicles. We know that China has committed to ending the sale by 2040, the United Kingdom by 2030. Also, General Motors has committed to ending the production of engines using fossil fuels.”

He said Canada needs to be ahead of the curve. “We need to make the tough decisions now so that we have a good economy in the future.”

Vaudreuil-Soulanges riding

The NDP have not had a candidate in the riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges since the federal election of 2015 when Liberal representative Peter Schiefke won the seat from incumbent NDP Jamie Nicholls.

“I don’t know if anyone has been named,” said Singh when asked about the situation. Quach added that she had heard Amanda MacDonald from Hudson might be considering the position. On Saturday, August 18, MacDonald told The Journal she was considering the possibility of running as the Vaudreuil-Soulanges NDP candidate in the next federal election but hadn’t reached a decision to date. She is the wife of Nicholls who now sits as Mayor of Hudson.

Support of LGBTQ2

Singh’s visit to the region extended to spending some time in downtown Montreal over the weekend.

“I’m a proud defender of human rights, including the rights of the LGBTQ2 community,” said Singh. “I will proudly be attending, for the second time, the Pride Parade in Montreal. I’m really excited to be there. I had a great time last year.” He added he had attended Pride parades in Victoria and Toronto this year.

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