12/04/2018 14:06 EST | Updated 01/15/2019 12:07 EST

Jagmeet Singh Tries To Fire Up NDP Staffers As Party Finds Itself Struggling To Gain Traction

He said Canadians are in a "tough spot" and need the party to step up for them.

The Canadian Press
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh prepares to address NDP staffers as they gather for their annual Staff Forum in Ottawa on Dec, 4, 2018.

OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says many Canadians have told him they are struggling with uncertain employment, a lack of housing and expensive medication — problems he told the party's most faithful Tuesday he believes his party can fix, despite depressed support in recent polls.

Singh spoke to NDP staffers who gathered in Ottawa from across the country for the federal party's annual staff forum.

The NDP leader delivered a campaign-style speech, aimed at rallying the troops in the midst of the party's ongoing struggle to gain traction.

A recent Nanos survey suggested the NDP is at 14-per-cent support and that Singh is the preferred federal leader of only 5.7 per cent of voters surveyed. An Abacus survey released last month was not much rosier, placing the party at 16 per cent and Singh the choice for prime minister of 11 per cent of respondents.

The Canadian Press
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh delivered a campaign-style speech to party staff at a forum on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Dec. 4, 2018.

But Singh was upbeat in Ottawa Tuesday, saying he believes Canadians are in "a tough spot" and need New Democrats to step up for them.

"Many Canadians feel like they voted for something and they didn't get what they voted for," he said. "I'm serving notice that good enough is not good enough. We deserve better, we need better and we're going to achieve that together."

Singh asked the audience of mainly young adult staffers to work harder in their regions to help build party support. They reacted with polite applause.

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