As the Canadian federal election draws nearer, the country’s party leaders are now doing everything they can to get one-up on each other. In a tweet on Thursday afternoon, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh tried to call out Justin Trudeau for allowing abortion clinics to close down in Canada, but things quickly turned around on Singh instead.
In a post on Thursday afternoon, New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh shared a tweet from Action Canada, a Canadian pro-choice charitable organization. The organization’s post explained that the only abortion clinic in Fredericton, New Brunswick, would be closing, and notes that the province refuses to fund out-of-hospital abortions for women in the area.
Sharing Action Canada’s post, Jagmeet Singh took the opportunity to call out Justin Trudeau, blaming him for the Fredericton clinic’s closure. Singh wrote, “Justin Trudeau calls himself a feminist but this clinic closure is the direct result of his failure to act. No one should have to travel for hours or pay hundreds of dollars to get an abortion.”
Singh went on to add, “I want @ActionCanadaSHR to know I’m committed to expanding abortion access right away.”
However, many Canadians actually responded to the NDP leader to correct him, and to ask why he called out Justin Trudeau when abortion clinics are linked with provincial politics, rather than federal.
Since 1988, abortion in Canada has been considered a medical procedure without a law governing it, meaning it is up to provinces to regulate access to it.
While it is up to the provincial government, the federal government plays a part in enforcing this. According to the Canada Health Act, "To help ensure that access, it sets standards the provincial governments, including the territories, must meet to receive federal funding for healthcare." This means that if a province isn't upholding abortion access standards, the federal government could withhold funding from them.
However, many Canadians are still calling out Singh for his perceived mix up in jurisdictions.
Responding to Singh’s tweet, one Canadian Twitter user wrote, “I like you, Jagmeet... [still voting NDP] but you -really- need to wise up on federal/provincial jurisdiction. You've made several similar gaffs in your campaign. They don't inspire confidence, yo.”
Another noted, “Mr Singh. You have no justification for these attacks. And it diminishes your credibility every time you make them. Just put out your costed plan and while you are at, brush on your knowledge of jurisdictions.”
Several Canadians also took the opportunity to accuse Jagmeet Singh of sounding like Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who has taken to social media to drag Justin Trudeau on several occasions.
One Twitter user wrote, “Wow dude your lies are getting worse than Scheer!"
Another added, “You very well know that comes under the provincial jurisdictions and the federal government has warned them several times Jagmeet Scheer!”
So far, Jagmeet Singh seems to have had a pretty successful election campaign. Many Canadians appreciated his quick-wit in the two English-language leaders’ debates that he took part in, and his response to Justin Trudeau’s brownface scandal seemed to earn him some additional supporters.
Whether or not this support will translate into votes on October 21 remains to be seen.