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Singh promises to 'put pressure' on Trudeau to address health-care crisis at Vancouver Island rally


Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was on Vancouver Island on Tuesday speaking about health care.

His visit brought him to Courtenay and Qualicum Beach, where health-care access is in short supply.

In Courtenay, a sign on a walk-in clinic notifies the public that it will close for good on April 28.

Residents told CTV News it's becoming "next to impossible" to find a doctor in the area.

Paul Berger, a parent of two young children, says his family has a doctor but the doctor's office is more than an hour away.

"We'll call 811, we'll wait on the phone for 45 minutes to talk to somebody and their advice is always, 'Go to the hospital,'" said Berger.

"Then we go to the hospital and they say, 'You don't need to be here,'" he said.

Singh says he's hearing about similar issues from residents across Canada.

"We have a prime minister who’s not taking this crisis seriously, doesn’t understand how serious it is and is not responding to the crisis with the urgency required," he said in Qualicum Beach.

The NDP leader says his party plans to hold Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accountable for improving health care.

"I’m going to make it very clear to him that it’s serious and we expect action and we’ll use the pressure that we have, the tools that we have, to apply that pressure," he said.

Singh said the NDP doesn't plan on withdrawing from its coalition with the Liberals.

"Certainly not today," he said. "Today, what we’re doing is fighting for our health care."

Political science instructor and former B.C. health ministry assistant Daniel Reeve says the Liberals are in a tough spot, but he doesn’t see any major changes happening soon.

"They're a little bit vulnerable," said Reeve.

"The halo that used to exist around Trudeau in his first term is well and truly gone," he said. "What's the NDP's leverage? Their polling is about the same – 21 per cent – and who knows what that looks like in an election."

Singh says the NDP will continue to work with the Liberals as the health-care crisis worsens across the country.

"We are using the power that we have to put pressure on this government to fight to defend a universal health-care system," he said. Top Stories

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