Over the past few months, the beleaguered federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has come under enormous pressure to do anything to help the flailing federal NDP. One thing he could do was to run for the Burnaby South seat in the House of Commons. On Wednesday he confirmed that he would run to replace New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart, who has resigned his seat to run in Vancouver’s mayoral race.
“I did approach Jagmeet suggesting that it might be good for him to run in Burnaby South. What’s been very positive is when I mention it to people in Burnaby, is how excited they got,” he said.
There is considerable support for the NDP in this riding, however observers say it is not a 100 percent safe seat.
Stewart said he’s not concerned that Singh isn’t from the riding and noted former NDP leader Tommy Douglas, who had been premier of Saskatchewan, served in the riding after leaving Saskatchewan politics.
Meanwhile the Liberal Party has not ruled out running a candidate in the riding to allow Singh to take the seat and join the House of Commons. Usually party leaders are offered the courtesy by other parties by not seriously contesting in the riding they are running. However with the 2019 federal elections being so uncertain for both the Liberals and the Conservatives, there is a thinking that if the Liberal candidate could defeat Singh, it would seriously weaken not just Singh’s position in the party, but the NDP itself could find itself in turmoil, thus handing over a few more seats to the Liberals.
“The Liberal Party of Canada has always worked hard to represent Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and as such we welcome the opportunity to present a candidate in any riding which becomes vacant,” Braeden Caley wrote in an email.
Stewart won the riding in 2015 by about 550 votes. Liberal candidate Adam Pankratz came second.
Up until recently, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh insisted he was in no hurry to enter the House of Commons and indicated he would only run in 2019 to take on Liberal MP Raj Grewal in Brampton East, which by far is the safest seat for the party leader who has his base in Brampton. -CINEWS