Jagmeet Singh says NDP caucus is unified under his leadership after recent hiccups

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is downplaying speculation that he is losing support within his own caucus.

Appearing on Focus B.C. on BC1 on Friday, Singh said he is confident he will win the upcoming byelection in Burnaby South and will lead the NDP into the October federal election.

“We have got a caucus that is committed and has a solidarity and commitment to working together,” Singh said.

“I welcome a happy debate and healthy discussion. It is what makes New Democrats unique.”

Singh has been in the spotlight recently because of a series of poor interviews on national television. The NDP leader is hoping to put the negative coverage behind him by winning the upcoming byelection.

The Burnaby South byelection took a turn on Wednesday when Liberal candidate Karen Wang stepped down after controversial comments referring to Singh as being of “Indian descent.”

“I don’t think it’s a matter of Ms. Wong being racist. I think it is absolutely appropriate to want to organize in your community. Where it becomes inappropriate is when political campaigns seek to create divides,” Singh said.

Nationally the NDP is at around 16 per cent support in polls. The party hasn’t polled that low in an election since 2004, when it won just 19 seats, fewer than half the 44 seats won in 2015.

Singh has been the leader since 2017, but has not yet sat in the House of Commons as an MP. When asked about whether he thinks the federal Liberals want him to win so that he can be compared daily to prime minister Justin Trudeau, Singh said it’s not true.

“It’s a ludicrous claim. It makes no sense at all. Liberals are afraid of their record being tested,” Singh said.

“We are unified and we are unified in our focus that the Liberal government had let people down and we fell betrayed.”

Jay Shin is running for the B.C. Conservatives in the upcoming byelection. Conservative MP Michelle Rempel was in Vancouver this week and made a public appearance with Shin. She says Singh is not prepared to be prime minister.

“Mr. Singh is woefully uninformed on many public policy issues. I think people have looked at him, even within his own caucus, and have been really disappointed to put it mildly,” Rempel said.

WATCH: Trudeau calls comment by former Liberal candidate in B.C. ‘unacceptable’

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