Politics

Karen Wang wins Liberal nomination in Burnaby South to take on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Small business owner Karen Wang has won the Liberal nomination in the B.C. riding of Burnaby South, where she will go on to challenge NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in an upcoming federal byelection.​

Lawyer Jay Shin is running for the Conservatives, Greens won't run a candidate

Karen Wang, who operates several daycare centres in Burnaby, B.C., was chosen Saturday as the Liberal Party candidate for the upcoming federal byelection in Burnaby South. (Twitter)

Small business owner Karen Wang has won the Liberal nomination in the B.C. riding of Burnaby South, where she will go on to challenge NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in an upcoming federal byelection.​

Wang, who owns Angels Playhouse daycare and unsuccessfully ran in the 2017 provincial election for the B.C. Liberals, defeated Cyrus Eduljee, a scientist who works at biotechnology company Stemcell Technologies.

Wang, who said she has lived in Burnaby for 20 years, questioned Singh's ability to connect with local voters as an Ontario politician and federal leader with other responsibilities.

"He's not from our local community, he cannot represent you, represent us," she said. "I believe we will have a good chance to win in Burnaby South as I believe right now I'm very familiar with our community. I'm one of the people here."

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announced in August he would also run in the Burnaby South byelection. The seat was previously held by NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, who is now mayor of Vancouver. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Wang said her top three priorities would be improving housing affordability by increasing the supply, creating more jobs and improving public transit.

Byelection expected for February

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet set a date for the byelection in Burnaby South, which was vacated by former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart, now Vancouver's mayor. He expected to call byelections for the Burnaby South, Outremont, Que., and York-Simcoe, Ont., ridings early in the new year.

The byelection, expected for February, marks Singh's biggest political test to date, while he also tries to calm party fears about fundraising, slumping polls and a growing list of veteran MPs who say they won't run in 2019.

Singh has said he plans to focus on campaigning in the riding over the next month, so he can check "elected" off his to-do list for the critical campaign year ahead.

In the 2015 federal election, the NDP won Burnaby South by just over 500 votes.

A party leader who can't win a seat customarily steps aside, though that hasn't happened in a byelection since the 1940s. Singh won't say what he'll do if he loses the Burnaby South byelection.

Corporate lawyer Jay Shin is running for the Conservatives in the byelection, while Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has said the Greens won't field a candidate.

Maxime Bernier's People's Party of Canada plans to name a candidate in the next two weeks, spokesman Martin Masse said.

Because the party is so new and only recently established electoral district associations in the riding, the candidate won't be selected through a typical nomination voting process.

"Essentially, the leader will choose the candidate in each byelection," Masse said.

With files from CBC News

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