Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh makes first visit to Manitoulin

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, along with his brother Gurratan Singh (newly elected NDP Brampton East MPP) visited the Gore Bay farmers’ market last Friday along with Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha. In photo, front row, left, is Jagmeet Singh, Michael Mantha, and Gurratan Singh. Back row, left, are some of the market vendors: Tamara Monaghan, Linda Willson, Sarah Earley, and Scott Miller. PHOTO BY JAN MCQUAY

MANITOULIN ISLAND—Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, along with his brother Gurratan Singh, newly elected NDP Brampton East MPP, and Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michal Mantha could be found visiting and buying several goods at the farmers’ market in Gore Bay last Friday during a visit to Manitoulin Island last week.

“This is our first time visiting Manitoulin Island,” stated Jagmeet Singh. “My brother and I like to go trips like this to different places every year and we decided to spend a couple of days to see the beauty of Manitoulin Island. We’re on Island time now,” he quipped.

Mr. Singh noted that Mr. Mantha, along with being a member of the NDP, is also a long-time friend. “We have been fortunate that Mike is here with us on this trip to show us some of the sites and the people of this beautiful riding.”

“Today we have had the chance of seeing how some very hardworking people are growing products locally, selling their wares and products to locals and visitors to the farmers’ market,” said Mr. Singh. “These type of markets, and the vendors who provide the products, along with their customers have a very important role in their community.”

The brothers and Mr. Mantha took part in such activities as hiking the Cup and Saucer Trail, bicycling, kayaking, swimming, visiting the Gore Bay farmers’ market and visiting other areas on the Island like Providence Bay.

“One of the many people we got talking to on our travels was with a representative of MICA (Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates) and talking about the importance of cycling on the Island and the need for initiatives to compliment the industry, such as bicycle shoulders on all highways. There is a need for more government investment to continue to make improvements and grow the cycling industry.”

Mr. Singh said that the Island is now known for how bicycle friendly it is, which they found out first hand. “I’ve been working on a national bicycling strategic plan for the past few years, and talked about its importance on the election campaign trail.”

Of course, being the largest freshwater Island in the world, Mr. Singh said that he can appreciate the beauty of the lakes around Manitoulin and “how important it is to have clean lakes, clean drinking water for everyone and good populations of fish.”

“Keeping our lakes clean and protected environmentally is a big issue and important to our way of life.”

“Agriculture is another very important part of life here in Northern Ontario and throughout Canada and we need to support it and provide solutions so that it can thrive,” said Mr. Singh.

“Affordable housing for everyone is still an issue in Canada and there is a need to provide for initiatives and supports to help make housing more affordable and available to everyone.”

“Job creation, good jobs and maintaining jobs is extremely important as well,” said Mr. Singh.

“Another thing we have seen first hand on our visit is how important it is for everyone to have access to high speed and wireless Internet service. Having been up here for a few days and seeing the spotty service in some areas, it brings home the point of how important it is to have this service in place, everyone on the Island and in the area.

Mr. Singh said it is imperative that everyone, regardless of where they live in Ontario or Canada, should have access to good, affordable health care. He voiced concerns that the Doug Ford provincial government is already providing some troubling signs, that while his government had said in the election campaign they cared about everyday people so far everything they have done since being elected counters that, noting the proposed tax cuts help the wealthy, and that priorities that everyday people regard as important, such as protecting water and the environment, health care are not being focused on.

The Singhs both said they will definitely be returning to the Island in the future. “It has been a great trip,” said Gurratan Singh, “actually it has been a fantastic trip.”