• Below is an excerpt of an MTL Blog interview with Jagmeet Singh in which the NDP leader discusses his struggles as a young adult as well as his greatest motivations.
  • Stay tuned for our full discussion with Singh about his political views and the upcoming election.

On a sunny Thursday afternoon, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP along with MPs and candidates from Montreal, held a press conference at MR-63 to introduce a new candidate and discuss climate action. 

Singh outlined his party's plans for climate action, discussed his views on Bill 21 and being a minority, and introduced candidate Hugo Latulippe, award-winning documentary filmmaker and environmental activist. 

We sat down with Jagmeet Singh after the press conference and talked about the climate, religious symbols, the NDP platform, and what he stands for.

Here's part one of our exclusive interview with the NDP leader!

This is MTL Blog’s Election Interview Series.

Over the course of the next few weeks, leading up to the Federal Election on October 21, we’re speaking to candidates from Canada’s major federal political parties, including the Conservative Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, and the People’s Party of Canada.

This week, we spoke to Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP.

In part one of our exclusive interview, Singh explains the truth behind his name and what drives him to succeed. 

All interviews and questions have been edited for clarity.

I'm very interested in knowing before I pour into my questions, your experiences as a politician in Canada. Our readers would love to know who Jagmeet Singh is and what he stands for, and how he got his start.

First thing, if you can spread the word for me — it's spelled with an "A," so people always think it's "Jag" but in fact, it's "Jug" like 'Jugmeet!'

It means friend to the world, which is a good starting point. I'm motivated by two things: one is my mom taught me this idea that we're all connected — in every sense of the word we are connected. So if someone around us is hurting or going through difficulty, then we're also going through difficulty. And if we help people around us, we're helping ourselves.

READ ALSO: Exclusive MTL Blog Interview: Maxime Bernier Talks About His "Mistake" With Greta Thunberg

And it expands not to just people, but the planet. I grew up with this belief that if we truly hurt the planet, if we hurt the water, we're hurting ourselves. We know it literally, sure, but this is more even energetically, spiritually — like through this, we're hurting ourselves.

The other thing is that I went through some challenges in life where my dad went through an addiction problem. He was sick because of it, lost his job. We lost a lot in our lives, we lost our house and didn't have a place to live for a bit.

Financially, things were tough. I had to take care of my brother when I was at university, raise him. So these struggles taught me a lot. I didn't get through these struggles on my own, I got through them because people helped me out and because there were social services there for my family.

He'd hit rock bottom. It was a publicly funded rehab center that saved his life, that he was able to get a bed in. So, I really believe that that services should not be dependent on how much you make or whether you have any income or whether you have a salary or whether you have benefits.

Everyone is entitled to services, everyone should be able to be taken care of that way. So that's really important to me. Those are kind of my two driving forces. 

I believe that to change things, you got to be willing to fight for them. And I am. It takes courage, it takes toughness, and I have those things and I'm ready to take on the big fight we have against the powerful corporations that are running the show.

Stay tuned for our complete interview with Jagmeet Singh and other Federal election candidates coming soon!  

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