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NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

Last Updated Feb 24, 2021 at 2:38 pm EDT

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will not trigger an election as long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

Singh says he will stand by his pledge to prop up the Liberal minority government on confidence votes regardless of whether the Liberals back an NDP bill to implement universal pharmacare, due for a vote later today.

The government is expected within the next couple months to table a budget, which would trigger an election if it fails to garner support from at least one major opposition party.

New Democrats have been hyping their pharmacare legislation in advance of a vote that will either kill Bill C-213 or send it to committee for further scrutiny.

The NDP and Liberals both promised some kind of pharmacare program during the 2019 federal election campaign, but differ on the details.

Singh says his party’s universal medication plan, laid out in a private member’s bill sponsored by MP Peter Julian, resembles the framework recommended by a government-commissioned report released in June 2019.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press