Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is proposing federal funding to revive Saskatchewan’s public buses.
Speaking to reporters after a speech to the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) elections assembly in Saskatoon, Singh said there’s been a lot of concern over the closure of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC).
“The federal government should step in and provide that funding if the province won’t,” he said.
Singh said he’s proposing a national public transit strategy, which would provide federal dollars to cities and municipalities for bus and train systems.
“We need it, we know it’s the future,” he said.
“People need to get around and if we’re going to achieve our climate change goals, we need to actually put money into public transit.”
The newly-minted NDP leader applauded his provincial counterparts for introducing a motion in the Saskatchewan legislature calling for a reversal of the STC cuts.
LEADER PROPOSES NATIONAL ELECTRIC GRID
Singh was also asked about concerns over his stance against pipelines. He acknowledged Saskatchewan, along with most of western Canada, operates in a resource extraction-based economy.
However, he said the people he’s spoken to in the province are tired of the boom-and-bust cycle and want secure jobs for their children.
“I know that people want to build an economy that’s more sustainable,” he said.
“There’s no doubt we need to make sure it’s absolutely clear we can’t have environmental justice without economic justice, and that means we need to protect the jobs of people.”
He said the protection of work would come through providing a “just transition” and other sources of “great jobs.”
One of those sources could be Singh’s proposed national electric grid, which he said would provide jobs during construction. The goal of the grid would be to transfer surplus green energy between provinces.
He said such a network would be essential as the world transitions to electric vehicles.
“If the future is going to be about access to electricity, and countries that are going to be successful or have an advantage are the ones who have access to green energy, we need to be leaders,” he said.
NO PROVINCIAL ENDORSEMENT
Singh also weighed in on the provincial NDP leadership race, saying voters would have a tough choice between Ryan Meili and Trent Wotherspoon.
But he hasn’t declared support for either side.
“They’re both incredible candidates,” he said. “They both bring things to the table.”
Singh noted in French he was “very happy” with the renewal process of the provincial NDP.
“Saskatchewan is an incredibly important province to the NDP,” he added in English.
“I’m going to spend as much time as I can as a candidate in Saskatchewan, and I’ll be returning soon.”