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Canada Businessman, Martin Singh, Running For NDP Leadership


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
A little known Sikh businessman from Nova Scotia visited Surrey on Friday as part of his bid to become leader of the New Democratic (NDP) party.

With passing of former leader Jack Layton in August an election for the leadership of the NDP will occur on March 24, 2012. The winner of the election will become Leader of the Official Opposition. Singh a pharmacist and businessman who resides with his wife and three children in Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia announced his candidacy one week ago. In the federal NDP, Martin is the President of the Faith and Social Justice Commission and has four degrees and an MBA from Saint Mary’s University.

He was born Martin Hill and converted to Sikhism and is an active member of the faith and the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves. He also volunteers on a number of non-profit boards at the local, regional, and national level.

Singh met with the media at a press conference at the Grand Taj Banquet Hall in Surrey on October 14 and explained why he is running.

“If you are wondering whether I am an idealist. I am. I am also, however, a pragmatic realist who knows we need practical and workable plans to achieve our goals. There are four policy areas that form the reason for my leadership bid. They include entrepreneurship and business, health care and a national pharmacare plan, the environment, and leadership itself,” he said.

“We need a national strategy to support and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. A new national strategy should not be narrowly focused on science and technology. Nor should it have a narrow definition of ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘capital accumulation’. It should also promote “social entrepreneurs” who create ‘social capital’. This strategy should contain a national network of mentorship schemes, where seasoned entrepreneurs provide advice and invest their own capital in business ventures that have high probability of success,” he said.

Singh also stated, “We want to build a better Canada. To do so, we need to harness the expertise, talents and abilities of our people to improve existing social and economic conditions.” Singh also advocate more progress is needed to improve innovation, He said” Currently, Canada is a below average performer in its capacity to innovate. In June 2011, the Conference Board of Canada looked at the link between advanced skills and innovation performance in a group of 17 advanced countries. Canada ranked 14th out of 17, and received a “D” grade.” He added, “I want to increase Canadians’ awareness of what it takes to build and sustain a positive business environment.

Declared candidates for the NDP leadership contest to date include: Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena—Bulkley Valley; Paul Dewar MP for Ottawa Centre since 2006, and the Opposition Foreign Affairs critic; Thomas Mulcair, NDP MP for Outremont and one of the two deputy leaders of the party since 2007 is also in the running.

Other candidates include, Romeo Saganash, MP for Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, Quebec and Critic for Natural Resources, though caucus rules will require him to step down from that post. Brian Topp, President of the NDP from its 2011 convention has also thrown his hat in the ring in the leadership contest.

The jury is out on Singh’s chance of success for now, but it won’t be for lack of conviction and trying.

Singh said, “The skills necessary to be successful in business have to be shared with Canadians. For young Canadians, we have to increase the opportunities to develop management know-how. If we can generate world-class hockey players by the age of 20, we should be able to do the same for businessmen and women by the time they reach 25.



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