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

Get your healthy on

Healthy Living Expo promotes sustainable, innovative and healthy lifestyles

WATCH: Team Alberta visits Red Deer this weekend to prepare for Canada Winter Games

About 250 Team Alberta athletes toured venues and tested out facilities Saturday

École Secondaire Notre Dame High School students hold ‘Food Truck Friday’

Food studies students learn what it takes to run a food truck business while giving to a good cause

Action Group Society seeking support for transit program

Donate A Ride needs a boost in funds to serve the community

Students seen mocking Native Americans could face expulsion

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting

May plans next move in Brexit fight as chances rise of delay

Some say a lack of action could trigger a ‘public tsunami’

Group challenges ruling for doctors to give referrals for services that clash with beliefs

A group of five Canadian doctors and three professional organizations is appealing

Major winter storm wreaks havoc on U.S. travel

Nearly 5,000 flights were cancelled Sunday around the country

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Ponoka cowboy Vernon (Bud) Butterfield passes away

The Ponoka Stampede Association announced his passing Friday

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Most Read