PM to call three by-elections, giving Singh chance to win seat

The by-elections will be called in early February

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will call three byelections, including in the B.C. riding where NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh hopes to win a seat in Parliament, early in the new year for votes in early February.

A fourth riding may yet be added to the mix but a fifth riding, due to be vacated on Jan. 22 by Montreal Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio, is likely to remain without representation until the general election due next October.

Trudeau was criticized last month when he called one byelection in the eastern Ontario riding of Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes for Dec. 3, while leaving three other ridings vacant.

RELATED: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh loses chief of staff for ‘personal reasons’

Singh was particularly critical, accusing the prime minister of disrespecting some 300,000 people in the ridings of Burnaby South, where the NDP leader plans to run, the Montreal riding of Outremont and the Ontario riding of York-Simcoe.

At the time, Trudeau argued that the other three had only recently been vacated, whereas Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes had been without an MP almost six months, since the death of Conservative Gordon Brown.

Insiders now say Trudeau will set a date in early February for the other three byelections. He will wait until early January to call them so candidates won’t have to campaign over the Christmas holiday season.

If New Democrat MP Sheila Malcolmson resigns her British Columbia seat of Nanaimo-Ladysmith by the new year, Trudeau could call that byelection at the same time.

Malcolmson, who is making a leap to provincial politics, has announced her intention to resign once a byelection is officially called in the provincial riding of Nanaimo. The current MLA, Leonard Krog, was elected mayor of Nanaimo last month but has not yet resigned his legislature seat.

If Malcolmson doesn’t quit her federal seat until later in January, Nanaimo-Ladysmith could wind up in the same boat as Di Iorio’s riding of Saint-Leonard—Saint-Michel, without an MP until the Oct. 21 general election.

Bill C-76, which the government hopes will be passed by the end of this year, would forbid the prime minister to call a byelection within nine months of the day fixed for a general election, making Jan. 20 the last day byelections could be called.

RELATED: One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

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. New Democrats are hoping he can turn that around by winning a seat in the House of Commons and they suspect Trudeau has delayed calling the Burnaby South byelection to deprive Singh of greater visibility.

However, Liberals seem more concerned that Singh could lose the byelection, prompting the NDP to dump him and choose a potentially more appealing leader before next fall’s general election.

After weeks of debate in Trudeau’s inner circle, insiders say the prime minister has decided the Liberals will run a candidate against Singh, rather than stand aside to give him a better shot at victory. They say the decision is based on the wishes of grassroots Liberals in B.C., who have been nearly unanimous in wanting to put up a fight in Burnaby South.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack dad rescues his two young daughters after truck plunges into Cultus Lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

COVID-19 business listing: Hope and area

Find out which stores are open and how to support those who are feeling the effects of the pandemic

PHOTOS: Playtime is back!

Paula Morrison of Angel Daycare Centre captured a moment of absolute joy

Kelowna trial for three men charged in Hope murder delayed 11 months

The trial for the alleged killers of Michael Bonin has been moved to May 2021, was supposed to begin this month

VIDEO: RCMP Emergency Response Team at known drug house in Chilliwack

Armed officers respond to reports of shots, bring in ERT, K-9 unit and spike belt

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

White Rock council considers allowing alcohol in waterfront park

Council mulls business-boosting measures, including picnic benches

Langley woman recalls last words spoken to mother who died of COVID-19 on 88th birthday

Verna Clarke was more than a senior with dementia who died of COVID at Langley Lodge, she was ‘loved’

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

Most Read