Singh accuses Trudeau of delaying byelection in Burnaby South as pressure to win grows
'This is a decision that impacts the bedrock of our democracy,' NDP leader told supporters
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.
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.
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