British Columbia·Video

Singh accuses Trudeau of delaying byelection in Burnaby South as pressure to win grows

A Sunday rally came and went with no federal by-election dates being announced for the riding of Burnaby South — and NDP Jagmeet Singh didn't waste any opportunity pointing that out.

'This is a decision that impacts the bedrock of our democracy,' NDP leader told supporters

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh with Julia Sanchez, NDP candidate for Outremont, in December. Singh has criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for what he says is a delay in calling the byelection in Burnaby South. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

A Sunday rally came and went with no federal byelection date announced for the riding of Burnaby South — and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh didn't waste any opportunity to point that out.

Singh accused Justin Trudeau of delaying the byelection, saying the prime minister is leaving constituents in the B.C. riding without a voice in Ottawa for too long.

"It looks like Trudeau is again delaying calling byelections here in Burnaby South and, for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who are going to continue not to have representation, this is a decision that impacts the bedrock of our democracy," Singh told supporters Sunday.

There’s a lot of time before the 2019 election and the NDP has a lot of ground to cover before then. First up, party leader Jagmeet Singh needs a byelection to be called and win a seat in the House of Commons. 2:41

Singh, who has been a seatless leader since 2017, is hoping to nab the space vacated by former NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, who is now the mayor of Vancouver.

Singh says Trudeau promised the byelection would be held in early February, but said the prime minister is going to miss that deadline because Elections Canada requires 35 days notice and an election has yet to be called.

Others, however, say Singh's criticism is a deflection to direct attention away from the pressure on his race as well as his own sputtering party.

Singh is trying to secure a seat in Parliament amid disappointing fundraising, while polls show his party is stuck in third place and several veteran party MPs have decided to sit out the next election.

'I think there are some worries around some of the difficulties we've had over the past two years and the fact those two years have put us in a bit of a tough position,' Singh recently said about the party he leads. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

In an interview with the Canadian Press last month, Singh said it's "fair to say'' some in the New Democratic Party have worries about its prospects. He said he tells New Democrats to remember their constituents.

"I remind our team that we are there fighting for those folks to make their lives better and they count on us,'' he said.

"I think there are some worries around some of the difficulties we've had over the past two years and the fact those two years have put us in a bit of a tough position.''

Liberal Karen Wang and Conservative Jay Shin are set to challenge Singh for the seat, while Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada has yet to declare a candidate. The Green Party has said it won't run a candidate. 

With files from Tanya Fletcher and the Canadian Press

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