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Liberals, NDP played 'political games' with Burnaby-South riding: political scientist

Last Updated Jan 9, 2019 at 8:59 pm PST

Composite image: Justin Trudeau, Jagmeet Singh.

A political scientists says the Liberals and NDP played games with Burnaby-South to the detriment of people living there

BURNABY (NEWS 1130) — A political scientist is calling delays to the by-election ‘political games’ from both the Liberals and the NDP, leaving people in the riding without representation in Ottawa.

Hamish Telford with the University of the Fraser Valley is questioning the timing of the decision to make the call. He says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should have called the race back in September, and that the delay has left people living in the riding without a voice.

“It’s fairly clear that he has been doing this to try to keep Jagmeet Singh out of parliament and keep him blowing in the wind, as it were, out on the West Coast waiting for this to happen, and away from the centre of political activity in Ottawa,” he says.

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He says the by-election should have been called immediately after Kennedy Stewart vacated the seat in September when he left to run for the mayor’s seat in Vancouver.

“This is all come down to political games, mostly on the part of Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, and it’s really toying with the democratic rights of the citizens of Burnaby-South,” he says. “If he had called the by-election back in September for later in the fall, Mr. Singh could have taken his seat, — if he won the riding — in January, and given the citizens of Burnaby representation throughout the year and up until the election.”

But he says the NDP isn’t completely innocent here either. He says Stewart’s delay giving up his seat, knowing he would run for mayor, may have the riding in limbo longer than necessary.

“Former NDP member of parliament in Burnaby-South announces his intention to run for mayor of Vancouver in tune, did not formally give up his seat until September, perhaps he should have stepped down earlier.”

The Prime Minister has called the Burnaby-South by-election for Feb. 25, 2019.

– With files from Hana Mae Nassar