Trudeau accused of disrespect leaving 3 ridings vacant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh slams PM’s move to call one byelection, leaving three other ridings vacant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh speaks to reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Jagmeet Singh is accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of playing games with his decision to call one byelection while leaving three other ridings vacant — including the one in which the NDP leader plans to run.

Singh, who intends to run for Parliament in Burnaby South, said Monday that Trudeau is showing no respect for some 300,000 voters who’ve been left without representation in the three ridings.

“All these people deserve to have their voices heard and this government is saying their voices don’t matter,” said Singh. “It certainly was an example of Justin Trudeau playing some petty political games because … in the past any time there’s byelections that could be called, government has called them all together.”

Singh has struggled to find his groove since winning the NDP leadership a year ago and the party’s fundraising and polling numbers have dropped accordingly. New Democrats hope he can turn that around by winning a seat in the Commons and some suspect Trudeau is delaying the byelection in Burnaby South to deprive Singh of greater visibility.

READ MORE: NDP’s Jagmeet Singh set to run in B.C.’s Burnaby South riding after nomination

But Liberal insiders scoff at that notion. Instead, they say their concern is that Singh will lose the byelection, prompting the NDP to dump him and choose a potentially more appealing leader before next fall’s general election.

The prime minister must call a byelection within six months of an MP’s leaving a seat. The actual election date can be much later.

The NDP leader faced his own questions about how well the constituents of Burnaby South were represented by former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart, who waited four months after launching his successful run for Vancouver mayor to give up his seat in the House of Commons.

READ MORE: Kennedy Stewart challenged with building bridges as Vancouver mayor, expert says

Had Stewart resigned when he launched his mayoral bid on May 10, the six-month limit would be almost up and Trudeau would have no choice but to call a byelection.

Singh dodged repeated questions about why Stewart didn’t resign earlier and whether he thinks Burnaby South constituents were well served by the New Democrat MP while he was actively campaigning for another job for four months.

“The question is why is it the goverment has called one byelection but not the other three,” Singh said, adding that Stewart “continued to be vocal” on issues that matter in the riding.

On Sunday, Trudeau set Dec. 3 as the date for a byelection in the eastern Ontario riding of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes. That riding has been without an MP for almost six months, since the death of Conservative Gordon Brown on May 2.

In addition to Burnaby South, Trudeau did not call byelections in two other ridings: the Montreal riding of Outremont, left vacant by the Aug. 3 resignation of former NDP leader Tom Mulcair; and the Ontario riding of York-Simcoe, left vacant by the Sept. 30 resignation of Conservative MP Peter Van Loan.

“It has been mere weeks since those seats were vacated,” Trudeau told the House of Commons on Monday. “We will call those elections in due course, as is required under the Elections Act.”

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Gryphons girls graduate as coach moves on

Bulkley Valley SD54 van der Mark on his time as coach and education administrator.

Bulkley Valley members of The North Matter rally in Houston

Pro-pipeline and resource development group driving convoy Saturday, eyes expansion across the North

Open letter from Coast Mountains School District 82 Board of Education

Board commitment to ongoing collaboration to close outcome gaps with First Nations students.

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

RCMP seek Smithers gas station robbery suspect

Smithers RCMP are asking the public for any information on a robbery suspect.

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Boy who went missing from park remains largest probe in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Smithers spring cleaning

Ryder, 6, and Kalia, 5, Vandergaag help clean up Smithers.

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Most Read