NDP’s Jagmeet Singh: Trudeau delaying Burnaby South byelection to benefit Liberals

Burnaby Now

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For the second time in just over two months, the NDP gathered supporters in Burnaby in anticipation of a byelection being called for Burnaby South.

And for the second time they were left seething as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined to announce a date for the vote to replace departed MP Kennedy Stewart (now the mayor of Vancouver).

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NDP leader Jagmeet Singh addressed supporters at his Burnaby South campaign office on Sunday. (Photo by Jennifer Gauthier)

“The people of Burnaby South deserve a voice in Ottawa as they face some of the highest housing costs, skyrocketing medical fees and deep concern for their own future and the future of the environment,” federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said in a statement. “It’s clear Mr. Trudeau isn’t acting on the best interest of the people of Burnaby but rather he’s focused on the best interest of his own political party.”

In late October, Trudeau called a byelection for one of four vacant Parliament seats. At the time, New Democrat MP Peter Julian called the decision “unprecedented and very petty and manipulative.”

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh stood with supporters at the corner of Royal Oak Avenue and Imperial Street on Sunday. Photo by Jennifer Gauthier

In November, a Liberal source told the NOW that Trudeau would call byelections “early in the new year” for the three other ridings without representation – Burnaby South, Outremont (in Montreal) and York-Simcoe (in Toronto).

This week, the NDP announced Singh would be rallying volunteers at his Burnaby campaign office on Sunday. “Following months of delays, media reports suggest the Trudeau government may formally commence to campaign for the by-election in Burnaby South as early as this weekend.”

But once again no announcement came from the Prime Minister’s office and the NDP was left criticizing the delays rather than officially launching a campaign to get its leader his first seat in the House of Commons.

“Having an elected representative is a bedrock of our democracy,” Singh said. “When there is already so much disappointment in the Trudeau government for failing to deliver on the progressive platform they were elected on, this pokes them right in the eye.”

The NDP expected the call Sunday because Elections Canada needs 35 days to set up a byelection and the Liberals told media outlets the vote would come this February – making this the last Sunday (when byelections are typically called) to meet that deadline.

In November, Liberal sources told several outlets the byelection would come in February, but the NOW’s source would not confirm that timeframe, only saying the vote would come “early in the new year.”