As reported here Sunday on the Burnaby NOW website, the federal NDP are making a big issue out of the fact that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberals didn’t announce a byelection for Burnaby South yesterday.
The Liberals did announce one byelection for a riding back east, but not here as the NDP expected – and hoped.
They hope because their leader, Jagmeet Singh, picked this riding for his shot at a seat in Parliament.
A bunch of NDP volunteers staged a protest on Sunday. Local MP Peter Julian was quoted as saying not approving a byelection was “petty.”
Well, sure it is – that’s politics.
I have two big issues with the NDP whining about Trudeau not calling a byelection.
The first is that the NDP says Singh is being blocked from running for a seat in Parliament. The problem with that is Singh has had opportunities before this to run in a federal riding. According to the Liberals, there have been four byelections since Singh became party leader. It’s only now that he’s decided to run. Why has he waited so long? It’s unfair to say he’s being blocked.
The second issue I have is Singh tweeting that Trudeau thinks local citizens “don’t deserve a voice in Parliament.” The problem with Singh saying that and Julian saying Trudeau is being “petty” is that it was the NDP’s own member of Parliament, Kennedy Stewart, who created this mess in the first place. Stewart quit on his constituents to make a successful run for mayor of Vancouver. I don’t recall Julian and Singh roasting Stewart for quitting on his commitment – they should have been livid as Burnaby South voters were left without a voice. Stewart and, by extension, the NDP, have denied Burnaby South a voice with this decision. So it’s pretty disingenuous for them to suddenly complain about a situation one of their own MPs created.
Having said all that, Trudeau is wrong for not getting on with a byelection. Local citizens deserve to have an MP, so let’s get on with it.