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Singh moves off Brampton, Ont. dance floor and on to Parliament Hill

Jagmeet Singh arrives to hear the announcement of the first ballot in the NDP leadership race in Toronto on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Singh is spending his first day as the newly minted leader of the federal NDP meeting MPs individually as he prepares to name a leader in the House of Commons.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
October 02, 2017 - 8:00 PM

OTTAWA - Jagmeet Singh spent Sunday on a dance floor in Brampton, Ont., but he didn't have much time to bask in the glory of his resounding victory as the new NDP leader.

It was back to business on Parliament Hill on Monday, where he was busy tackling basics, including picking up a parliamentary pass to get in the front door.

Singh also spent the day meeting individual MPs from the 44-member federal caucus ahead of a full caucus meeting planned for Wednesday.

Out of the gate, one of his first orders of business is naming a leader in the House — an issue he has to get off his plate because doesn't have a federal seat.

He was mum Monday on who would claim the job, but he said someone has been picked.

"That person is going to be someone that's going to help us unify the party and continue to send a message that we are running a national campaign to form government in 2019," Singh said, speaking outside the Commons.

"We just need to work out some details and we'll be announcing that as soon as we can."

He also has to take care of officially resigning from his old job in the Ontario legislature.

"I've already had some conversations about how that goes," Singh said. "It's my first time doing this, so I'm going to follow the existing process and makes sure it's done as quick as I can."

Singh also said Monday he isn't concerned about his lack of a federal seat, though the party will have to pay him directly — an amount that hasn't been disclosed — because he can't be paid through parliamentary channels.

"We have a phenomenal caucus," Singh said. "I'll work with them to ensure that the work in the House reflects the work I'll do on the road."

And he will be hitting the road.

Over the next 100 days, the NDP plans to ensure Singh visits every province and territory in the run-up to its policy convention in February.

Singh, a 38-year-old former criminal defence lawyer, isn't a household name and part of the introductory campaign will be designed to introduce him to Canadians.

Expectations are also high he can immediately get cracking on raising money desperately needed to fill the party's drained coffers.

"We've got great members of Parliament, we will continue to do that work in the House of Commons, but the most important job that he can be doing right now is getting out right across this country and helping to expand the party," said veteran B.C. MP Peter Julian, who dropped out of the leadership race early and later backed Singh.

"We have to make sure that we are building the party across the country and getting ready for the election in 2019."

—with files from Jordan Press

Follow @kkirkup and @jpress on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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