03/24/2012 10:12 EDT | Updated 05/24/2012 05:12 EDT

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title="NDP leadership convention prepares for first results"/>

NDP leadership candidate Martin Singh says country lacks leadership




Fri, 23 Mar 2012 18:36:11 EST

Martin Singh, the least-known candidate in the NDP leadership race, appealed to party members at the NDP leadership convention Friday by pointing out his unique qualities but also his common traits with other Canadians.

"I'm a country boy," Singh said, noting that he is a married father just like many other Canadians. But he said he knows he's not the typical leadership candidate, citing his conversion to the Sikh religion as an example of why he is different.

He told his life story and background in an animated video presentation and also talked about his main policy ideas, which include supporting entrepreneurs, protecting the environment and introducing a national pharmacare program.

Singh, a pharmacist from Musquodoboit Harbour in Nova Scotia, was introduced by a member of his local NDP riding association and his son played the fiddle before he took the stage. Singh spoke comfortably, and with ease in French, and emphasized his commitment to social democratic values.

Singh said that "real leadership" is lacking in Canadian politics, and said his role as a reservist in the Canadian military has given him leadership experience and taught him to put other people's interests ahead of his own.

He spoke at length about the NDP's history and how firmly he believes in its values.

A small crowd of supporters surrounded the stage as Singh spoke, but his support at the convention is nowhere near as visible as the other candidates'.