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.

Just Posted

Bus dispute reaches Maple Ridge

Some 701 routes cut on Monday

Whonnock Lake backdrop for highly anticipated fibre arts show and sale

Whonnock Weavers and Spinners holding 39th annual juried show and sale

Metro floats proposal for river bus service on the Fraser

Electric vessels would serve Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and other river cities

Being Young: Lost in translation

Learning a second language will always be useful.

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Family dog dies in B.C. house fire

Cause of Chilliwack blaze on Nov. 16 considered accidental

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

How to keep community cats safe in winter

Some steps to help them stay warm, safe as temperatures drop.

Abbotsford police chief mulls more enforcement of homeless lawbreakers

‘When all else has failed we have to hold people accountable,’ Police Chief Mike Serr tells council

Striking Vancouver hotel workers, employer reach ‘tentative’ agreement

Employees of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia have been out at picket lines since talks broke off on Sept. 21

RCMP cut free activists chained to Kelowna bank, placed under arrest

The group is protesting Interior Savings Credit Union’s support of Kelowna Ribfest

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

Cell phone tickets worse tax grab than speed limits, SenseBC says

Distracted driving statistics questioned as B.C. tickets pile up

Most Read