NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in Quebec to promote head-to-toe healthcare
CTV Montreal Staff
Published Wednesday, July 17, 2019 12:52PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 17, 2019 5:25PM EDT
As part of his four-day stop in Quebec during his summer tour of Canada, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh laid out his party's platform for medical services.
The NDP would like to eliminate all private health services in Canada and bring them into Medicare, including services like dentistry, optometry, and mental health therapy.
To pay for it, an NDP-led Federal government would impose a one per cent income surtax on the Canadians with incomes of $20 million or more.
"I don't believe in a two-tiered system," said Singh.
"I can tell you from my own experience, my father had personal insurance when he was a doctor and when he fell ill and fell into addiction and lost his job, lost his private insurance. He had nothing and if it wasn't for public access to health care, he would have died.
"He was at the hospital and was told he was at the end of his life and he said 'I want to live' and he was accepted into a publicly funded rehab centre that saved his life," said Singh.
He said that type of coverage needs to encompass people's teeth and eyes and mental health.
"I really passionately believe that your job status and your income should not have any impact on your ability to get the services you need," said Singh.
15 seats in Quebec
The NDP faces an uphill battle in this fall's election. The last time they were polling this low they didn't have a single seat in the province but Singh said he is not worried.
He noted that former leader Jack Layton had similar numbers before the Orange Wave swept Quebec in 2011 and the NDP took 59 out of 75 seats.
The NDP now has 15 seats and in February the NDP lost the first-ever seat it had held in Quebec: what used to be Tom Mulcair's riding of Outremont.
Singh is now touring areas where the NDP holds seats in Quebec to ensure they are safe in October's vote.
He also discussed Bill 21, Quebec's law that bans the wearing of religious symbols by many civil servants in positions of authority.
That law would prevent Singh, who wears a turban, from holding many positions as a government employee -- and certain cabinet positions if he were an elected MNA.
He said the law does not reflect the Quebec that he knows.
- With notes from Kelly Greig