Singh says Bloc 'won't push government' after supporting throne speech
OTTAWA -- NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet’s support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s throne speech should be a hint to Canadians that he won’t challenge the government.
"They’ve made it clear that they don’t really have anything to negotiate, they’re not going to push the government," said Singh in an interview on CTV’s Question Period airing Sunday.
Singh came out in opposition of Trudeau’s speech, as did Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Both claimed there were missed opportunities.
Blanchet, however, said he would support the speech because it showed potential.
"I'm going to support the speech because I see in that speech many opportunities for us to — not to take what is intended to be given, because it's not that clear, but to get things, to make some gains for Quebec," he said in a scrum to reporters on Friday.
The NDP leader noted two major components absent from the speech from the throne: the word “universal” before a stated promise of a national pharmacare program, and a specific commitment to follow through on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling to reimburse First Nations families affected by the government’s child welfare system.
"Mr. Trudeau can stay in power very easily; he can just work with the Bloc who don’t seem interested in pushing him to do anything,” said Singh. "If they want to work with me, I want to work together but not to just keep the Liberals in power. I want them to do what’s right for people."
Because the Bloc Quebecois holds official third-party status in Parliament, the Liberals have enough votes to pass the speech when it comes time for a vote.
In a separate interview on Question Period, pollster Nik Nanos said Singh risks coming across as a barrier to progress on key initiatives at a time when the NDP could make progressive policy advances.
"If he keeps saying 'no' he becomes irrelevant because he doesn’t accomplish anything. This is his time where he has potentially a pliant government to advance an NDP agenda and if he doesn’t come out supporting anything, then people will go 'OK, so what about that?' It’s just a lost opportunity," Nanos said.
Singh did, however, say he’s not “closing the door” to support the speech if Trudeau can show a nimbleness in accommodating the NDP’s major asks.
CTVNews.ca reached out to Blanchet’s team for a response, but at the time this article was published no statement was provided.