PM Trudeau calls three byelections for February 25 in B.C., Ontario, and Quebec

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called three federal byelections to be held on February 25. The three ridings in which constituents will be voting in a new Member of Parliament (MP) are Burnaby South, British Columbia, Outremont, Quebec, and York–Simcoe, Ontario.


The Burnaby South seat was vacated by NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, who resigned to successfully run for election as mayor of Vancouver on October 20, 2018. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is running for the seat against Liberal nominee Karen Wang (daycare owner), Conservative nominee Jay Shin (corporate lawyer), and People's Party of Canada nominee Laura-Lynn Thompson (author and media personality). The Green Party chose to extend Mr. Singh a “leader’s courtesy” and not run a candidate against him.


Mr. Singh has been leader of the federal New Democrats since October 2017. After spending months touring the country meeting with people and saying he was comfortable with not having a seat in the House of Commons, Mr. Singh decided it was time to try to get elected federally and be in Parliament for key political moments, such as Question Period.


A Prime Minister has up to 180 days to call a byelection after a seat is vacated. The recently-passed election reform bill C-76 changed the rules to state that a byelection cannot be called within nine months of the scheduled general election date, which is expected to be October 21, 2019.


PM Trudeau has faced pressure from Mr. Singh and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to call these byelection races, criticizing him for delaying the byelections, accusing him of playing politics, and being petty for not holding votes to fill these vacancies earlier. "Voters in these vacant seats deserve the chance to have their voices heard," Mr. Scheer said in a statement last Friday.


The Montreal riding of Outremont was left vacant in August, by the resignation of former NDP leader Tom Mulcair. There, formal president of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation Julia Sanchez is running for the NDP, facing off against past candidate and Liberal staffer Rachel Bendayan, and Conservative Candidate Jasmine Louras.


The Ontario riding of York-Simcoe was left vacant by the September resignation of Conservative MP Peter Van Loan. It’s a long-held Conservative riding, where the defending party is running business owner Scot Davidson. The Liberal candidate is Shaun Tanaka, professor and past federal candidate, and community organizer Jessa McLean is running for the NDP.


There is one outstanding vacancy, in former NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson’s Nanaimo-Ladysmith, B.C. riding. She officially resigned her seat this week, following her announcement she would be running for the provincial NDP. That byelection will have to be announced sometime between January 18 and July 6. Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio has also said he will be resigning on January 22, days after the window closes on the possibility to hold a byelection to replace him.

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