Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jagmeet Singh Says He's Faced Barriers to Change within New Democratic Party

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Jagmeet Singh Says He's Faced Barriers to Change within New Democratic Party

Article excerpt

Singh says he's faced barriers to change in NDP

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SURREY, B.C. - New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh says he's faced barriers to creating change within the party as he reflects on a shaky first year and looks toward the 2019 election.

Singh wrapped a three-day caucus retreat in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday amid criticism from party stalwarts about weak fundraising and his controversial decision to oust a Regina MP over harassment complaints.

He acknowledged it had been "tough" to achieve his vision as a new federal leader who was previously an NDP member of the Ontario legislature.

"Coming into an organization and executing that vision is always going to take time, and I found that that's been a little bit harder than I thought," he said in an interview.

"When you come into a leadership position, there's always barriers to bringing in a new change. You just have to work with people and you have to provide a new direction. ... That's been a challenge, bringing in the new way of doing things that I want to see happen."

Singh added the experience has been "rewarding" and he appreciates a challenge. The party has an "incredible movement" already, with excellent volunteers, MPs and staff, and building on that foundation is an honour, he said.

The 39-year-old Ontario-born leader will run for his first Parliament seat in Burnaby South, a riding that MP Kennedy Stewart was set to officially resign on Friday as he campaigns to be Vancouver's next mayor.

Singh was scheduled to knock on doors with volunteers in the riding on Thursday evening and attend a roundtable discussion on housing in Burnaby on Friday before mainstreeting at Simon Fraser University. He is expected to receive the party's nomination in the riding on Saturday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must call a byelection within six months of Stewart's resignation. Singh was asked whether he's concerned about the prime minister running out the clock to ensure the byelection happens as late as possible. …

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