Over 200 people were turned away at the doors of a Penticton Lakeside Resort ballroom Saturday night as federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh addressed a crowd of 500 supporters.
With incumbent New Democrat Richard Cannings polling with a 3% lead on Conservative candidate Helena Konanz as of Thursday, the “UpRiSingh” rally in the South Okanagan was a late push at securing final votes come Monday.
Singh is the only federal leader to make a final stop in the Okanagan in the dying days of the campaign.
Singh addressed a number of key platform promises including affordable health care, affordable housing and tackling global warming.
“I know that a lot of people can’t find housing,” he said. “More and more, it’s a struggle to find a place call home. The dream of owning a home is no longer a dream; it’s a fantasy.
Young people shouldn’t be afraid of the future.”
He did make some quips at his opponents, criticizing Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for failing to make medication cheaper after promising to do so, and drawing laughs from the crowd when he said he doesn’t “know what (Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s) even trying to say.”
“Maybe (the Conservatives) will save you a couple of dollars, but when they cut taxes, what else do they cut? Services,” he said.
Singh promised the room he would “not ever work with a Conservative government.”
“I was kind of troubled to hear from the leader of the Green Party when she said that she would be willing to, or open to working with the Conservatives,” Singh said.
Singh addressed the cost of cell phone and internet plans, promising to cap the amount providers can charge customers.
He also said an NDP government would build 500,000 new affordable homes across the country, and promised to fight for better access to services for Indigenous peoples.
“At the heart of everything we do, know that reconciliation has to be done honestly with the basic dignity and respect of the first people of this land, which means clean drinking water … equal access to education and basic respect,” he said.
Singh had the crowd jumping as he singed autographs, posed for selfies with supporters and met with members of the crowd before making his final leave.
Singh will campaign in Vancouver on Sunday, the final day prior to Monday's election.
This is Signh's second visit to the riding. He attended a Penticton Vees game with candidate Richard Cannings on Aug. 28, about two weeks prior to the writ being dropped. Scheer was last in the riding on July 1 when he went door knocking with candidate Helena Konanz. Although Trudeau didn't make an Okanagan stop during the campaign, he made a surprise appearance on Aug. 6, 2018 at B.C. Day at Penticton's Gyro Park.