Hope Mahood is the opinions editor for Volume 113. Email her at opinions@westerngazette.ca or find her on Twitter @hope_mahood

Jagmeet Singh in London

Singh at the launch of his campaign in London, Sept. 10 2019.

In a season full of scandals, the dark horse NDPs have steadily risen in polls for next week's election.

As Liberals and Conservatives have fallen behind in their numbers, the NDP have soared to swallow up votes from both parties. 

Jody Tomchishen is a mainstay of demonstrations and progressive movements in London. The PhD student and campus disputant spoke with the Gazette's Opinions Editor, Hope Mahood, on the party he's spent his volunteering time with this fall.

This election the NDP have been focusing on pulling the vote from disheartened Liberals. Do you think a vote for the NDP benefits the Conservatives?

No. Actually, I don’t even think that the goal is to pull from Liberals. When you look at the polls right now the NDP is pretty much the second choice of almost every party. So as the NDP has been rising they’ve been equally taking from the Conservatives as they have been with the Liberals. So I guess I just don’t accept the framework.

Why do you think that is?

Well I think partly, it’s surprising with the Conservatives because you’d think that their second choice would be Liberal in ideological terms. But I think what’s happening is that the Conservatives have been so disaffected with Trudeau that the NDP has become their second choice.

And the NDP have promised to work towards free tuition for universities and colleges. How do they plan to work with provincial governments like the Ford government that have purposely made post-secondary education more expensive?

I think partly it’s that a lot of the loans come from Federal funding, so there’s a lot they can do. Now maybe they can’t go the whole way, but they can also find ways to make agreements with the provinces to persuade the Premiers. You know, we’ll give you this and you give us that — and we’ll come to some sort of agreement.

I’m also aware that there’s going to be practical constraints to that, given how obstinate Doug Ford is. But I think it’s still worth trying to accomplish. Even if you set up a framework so that if another government gets in they can then work with an NDP government to pass that legislation. Even if they can reduce loans, interest rates and other things that come from the national part of the student loan, then that’s still cool.

Climate change has been a really big issue for the NDP this campaign. Should it be as big an issue for other parties as it is for the NDP?

Yes.

Yes?

Well, as someone who has children, I’m deeply concerned about the world they’re going to grow up in — and climate science is real.

I’m quite impressed actually that Andrew Scheer has at least nodded in the direction of accepting climate science. But I mean it’s clear by his platform that he’s not really moving in any direction to solve the issue. But you know they’ve moved a little so I guess that’s good.

But I think we need to take [climate change] seriously and so I’m glad the NDP has put forward the Green New Deal and I like it. So I hope that they’re able to put something like that into legislation.

For sure, and I guess finally — free tuition for colleges and universities, a very ambitious plan for climate change — can the government afford to invest in all this?

Yes, because you can tax the rich and get that money.

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