Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh can finally take his official seat in the House of Commons after being sworn in as an MP on Sunday.
He is the first person of colour to lead a federal party.
In a speech after he was sworn in, Singh thanked the people of Burnaby South for allowing him to be their voice in Ottawa, as well as his friends, family and supporters.
“Any time you achieve anything, there are so many people that made it possible. You never do it alone.”
Singh said, as a young boy he could have never imagined he would run for prime minister one day, but he wants all children now to have a more diverse image of what a prime minister can be.
“That image is now going to be more and more clear for young people in this country,” he said.
“I’m only here today because other people broke barriers for me.”
Singh won a byelection in Burnaby South at the end of February.
He will enter the Commons on a busy week that includes a federal budget and continuing drama around the SNC-Lavalin affair.
He also spoke about the mosque attacks in New Zealand that left 50 people dead, saying it’s time to tear down the root causes of hate, not just denounce the actions. He called for an end to policies and language that treat people as less than human.
Being a leader means serving: Singh
Singh says his strategy in the House is to push for more affordable housing, an environmentally responsible economy, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and better healthcare.
He says he’ll treat his role as rooted in the Punjabi translation of the word ‘leader,’ which translates roughly into English as “the one who serves.”
“We’re going to have a tough road ahead of us,” he said, acknowledging the party only has a few months to convince Canadians that the NDP is a viable option.
“Together we’re going to change this country.”
The NDP head into October’s election with more than a dozen incumbent MPs stepping down and dismal fundraising numbers.
This story originally appeared on CBC