Globe: NDP stands by Liberal pact amid foreign-interference discontent

B.C. NDP MP Jenny Kwan, who is one of only three MPs (all on the opposition benches) who have been publicly identified as a target of Beijing’s interference, said going to an election amid foreign-interference concerns doesn’t make sense.

“If we’re going to go to an election, I am a sitting duck,” she said. “Others are as well.”

Moreover, she said, foreign interference isn’t the only issue voters expect Parliament to address. There are seniors in her riding who are left to eat blended food because they can’t afford to pay for a dentist, she said. Giving up on the deal would also mean letting the Liberals off the hook on the promises in it, Ms. Kwan said.

In the House of Commons since 2004 and in his fifth minority Parliament, Ontario NDP MP Charlie Angus said this is the first where he has a chance to directly shape government policy. As one of the NDP critics for natural resources, he has regular meetings with Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson and says those talks have forced the government to shift its sustainable-jobs policies aimed at helping workers transition to a net-zero economy.

Mr. Angus said the Liberals have worked with him in good faith and as a result of his advocacy have strengthened labour standards and the role of unions.

“The dance partner we have is a government that is tired, that is sloppy, that makes a lot of mistakes,” said Mr. Angus. “But my focus in opposition right now is to make them deliver on the promises that we made to Canadians.”

“If I came back to Northern Ontario and said, ‘hey, people, we forced a summer election over allegations that we still need to investigate.’ They’d kick my ass all over Northern Ontario.”

In terms of the priorities of Canadians, Nanos Research founder Nik Nanos said the polling shows that on the policy front, the NDP calculation is correct: The foreign-interference issue is of interest but not more so than the economy, health care and the environment.

Mr. Nanos described the NDP as “policy mercenaries” who are squeezing the government on the issues that matter most to them but stopping short of being full governing partners. However, he said there’s a risk for the NDP that they end up appearing too closely linked to the Liberals by the time the next election comes around.

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