Loading articles...

Singh blasts Trudeau for delay in calling by-election, campaigns in Burnaby

Last Updated Jan 7, 2019 at 2:31 am PDT

Jagmeet Singh stands with supporters at conference, rally for support in Burnaby-South on January 6th, 2019. (Taran Parmar, NEWS 1130)

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh campaigns in Burnaby-South on Sunday, criticizes PM Trudeau for delay in calling by-election

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) — NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is campaigning in Burnaby on Sunday, again lobbing criticism against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a continued delay in calling a by-election in Burnaby-South.

Singh, who is running in the riding, calls the delay a self-interested move by the the Prime Minister, saying that it would be in the best interest of people in Burnaby to have representation in the House of Commons.

An NDP insider told NEWS 1130 the by-election could be called Sunday, but it appears that won’t happen today.

RELATED: Winning Burnaby-South by-election a critical challenge for NDP leader Jagmeet Singh: researcher

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed last week he intends to call by-elections early this month for Burnaby-South, Outremont in Quebec, York-Simcoe in Ontario, and Nanaimo-Ladysmith on Vancouver Island.

Elections Canada rules say the by-election in the riding must be called before March 18, but the date of the election could be as late as this year’s federal election, scheduled on or before October 21, 2019.

Now Singh is in Burnaby continuing to drum up support, hoping to pressure the government to call the election, saying he will “take the concerns that I’ve heard from the streets, from the people, and make sure that we force this government to do something on this crisis.

“Instead of telling people to wait, we’re saying we can’t afford to wait. We need action.”

RELATED: Federal Liberals nominate Karen Wang to run in Burnaby-South by-election

At a press conference, surrounded by supporters in Burnaby, Singh used the opportunity to discuss housing affordabilty, poverty and the environment, and criticize the government for ‘inaction’ on housing.

“Inaction is the status quo. The government has talked a lot about committments, but they’ve not delivered on those. People have not seen their lives improved. The federal government has neglected housing for a number of decades,” he says. “There’s a trend. This government, again and again, is telling Canadians to wait. They’re saying ‘wait’ when it comes to the housing crisis, instead of action, instead of doing anything on it, they’re saying ‘just wait.’ ”

Singh is running to fill the seat vacated by former NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, who vacated the seat to run for mayor of Vancouver.

The Liberal Party of Canada nominated Karen Wang for the Burnaby-South seat, and the Conservative Party of Canada is running Jay Shin, while the Green Party of Canada has said they will not be fielding a candidate. Maxime Bernier’s new conservative-leaning party, People’s Party of Canada, is running Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson.

RELATED: Provincial by-election in Nanaimo called for Jan. 30

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has also criticized the Prime Minister for not calling the by-elections, saying recently that Trudeau was playing “political games” with timings of important by-elections.

“As 2019 begins, Justin Trudeau is once again putting his own partisan interests ahead of Canadians who deserve to have their voices heard in Parliament. Four seats are currently vacant, but Trudeau refuses to commit to calling all four by-elections,” he said in a statement on Friday. “With Canadians increasingly fed up with Justin Trudeau’s failures, voters in these vacant seats deserve the chance to have their voices heard. Justin Trudeau needs to do the right thing, and immediately call by-elections in all vacant seats.”

Meanwhile, the provincial government has called a by-election in Nanaimo.

The seat became vacated when MLA Leonard Krog resigned in November to run for mayor of Nanaimo. That election will happen on January 30.

The federal Nanaimo riding was also vacated last week when Sheila Malcolmson resigned to run for the provincial seat for the BC NDP.

– With files from Taran Parmar, the Canadian Press