NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh meeting with delegates at the FSIN Assembly in Saskatoon.  Photo by Joel Willick.

The newly elected leader of the federal NDP party says actions are stronger than words when dealing with government and Indigenous relations.

Jagmeet Singh addressed the FSIN Fall Assembly in Saskatoon on Thursday where he pledged his party would commit to working with Indigenous people.

Singh says Indigenous people in Canada continue to face a crisis in housing, education and healthcare. He says he is tired of governments battling these issues in court.

“It hurts me and I don’t accept that and as leader of the NDP party I will work to ensure we get actions and not just pretty words,” said Singh while speaking to the assembly. “Reconciliation means you don’t take Indigenous children to court.”

Singh also told the FSIN assembly his party’s desire to implement the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian legislation.

“We need to ensure there is this treatment as nations and not just as people you consult…that means they should be equal partners in decision making,” said Singh.

The new leader also spoke on renewable energy, the importance of the treaties and missing murdered Indigenous women and girls.

“Reconciliation is not just a word it is a call to action and we need to do something about it now,” he said.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron says he was glad Singh addressed the FSIN Chiefs.

“More importantly, when all is said and done, I hope he returns to Ottawa and helps implement the many things we have been fighting for under inherent and treaty rights,” said Chief Cameron.

Singh’s stop in Saskatoon was an early stop on his first cross-Canada tour as NDP leader.