Jagmeet Singh highlighted NDP policies such as universal drug coverage and dental care in introducing himself to an American audience, and name-dropped high-profile Democrats in the process.
The NDP leader was a guest on the New Year’s Eve episode of New York-based “The Breakfast Club,” which regularly draws eight million monthly listeners. In a wide-ranging conversation with hosts of the popular radio show, Charlamagne tha God, Angela Yee and DJ Envy, Singh explained the NDP to Americans and repeated criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump.
When asked to explain his role in Canada to the show’s mostly American audience, Singh likened himself to U.S. congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“It would be the AOC, Bernie Sanders kind of Democrat,” Singh explained. “We’re the progressive, left party of Canada.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s first piece of legislation was the Green New Deal, social and economic reforms to address climate change and economic inequality, issues that are also core to the NDP platform. Sanders, a U.S. senator, has made public health care a core part of his campaigning.
Singh made his alignment clear during the half-hour interview, by clearing up misconceptions of Canadian liberalism and calling out Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Watch: Jagmeet Singh questions Justin Trudeau on pharmacare. Story continues below.
“He says a lot of the right things, and I give him credit for that, he says nice things,” said Singh. “It’s very different what he says publicly and what he does privately, in terms of his policies versus what he says.”
Singh brought up Trudeau’s environmental record as an example, highlighting the Liberal government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“He held himself out to be this big environmentalist, but I don’t know of too many countries that have used public dollars to nationalize a pipeline,” said Singh.
Naturally, Singh was asked about what he thought of the U.S. president. The NDP leader sighed.
“Oh man. I got in trouble before because I was a little too blunt about it,” he said, referring to
comments he made during an comments he made during an NDP town hall in September 2019 when he expressed his desire to see Trump impeached.
“If you look at what a leader should do, what you would expect from a leader — he is the exact opposite,” Singh told “The Breakfast Club.”
“A leader should be bringing people together, he continually tries to divide people.”
Singh brought up the Trump administration’s record of detaining migrants seeking asylum, and their immigration policy of “ripping babies out of their mom’s arms.”
He also criticized Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy. During the 2019 federal election, Singh campaigned on tax hikes targeting Canada’s richest people, and promised funding to low-income groups.
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“Every single decision he makes is making life harder for people, is disrespecting human beings and is just wrong,” he said of the U.S. president.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated Jagmeet Singh campaigned on tax cuts for the wealthy in the last election. In fact, he called for the wealthy to pay more in taxes.