Despite representing a party that placed third in Burnaby South last election and facing a federal leader, Conservative Jay Shin believes he can win the Feb. 25 byelection.
The lawyer, who helps Asian firms invest in B.C., says he has put his law practice on hold while he focuses on campaigning full time.
Since being named the Conservative Party of Canada’s candidate in September, Shin said he has been door-knocking and meeting community leaders in the riding, “working hard to gain the trust of the people of Burnaby South.”
He will be facing NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Liberal Karen Wang and the People’s Party of Canada’s Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson in the February vote called by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Wednesday. The eventual winner will replace former NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, now the mayor of Vancouver.
In 2015, the Conservative candidate fell 3,653 votes short of winning the riding – but Shin said he’s confident he can win.
“I think I knew it was going to be tough,” he said. “I'm doing this because I care. I care for kids, for our children's future and this is an opportunity for me to give back to the country that gave me so much.”
Both Shin and Wang told the NOW they believe Singh lacks a personal connection to the riding. The Ontario-born politician recently moved to Burnaby and has said he’s committed to living and running there going forward.
“I just don’t buy it when he says he’s all-in on Burnaby,” Shin said. “Frankly, whether he's the leader of a national party or not, I think people already know that he's not qualified to represent Burnaby South.”
Shin doesn’t live in the riding but said he has roots in the community. He said he lived in Burnaby until 2004 and his parents still live there.
“I’m a local champion,” he said.
In speaking to residents, Shin said the number 1 issue on people’s minds seems to be the deficit spending of the Trudeau Liberals. The part campaigned in 2015 to balance its budget but has not done so.
“We just had Christmas … when kids ask Santa for what they want and parents pay for that, but our kids are going to be paying for our mistakes.”
Whoever wins the byelection will have a short term in office before the general election in October of this year. Shin said he has already been confirmed as the Burnaby South Conservative candidate in that race.
“2019 is going to be an interesting year, so I’m looking forward to that challenge,” he said. “This is my first foray into politics, so I’m learning as I go but it’s been very enjoyable.”