Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, February 26
Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh stunned all and silenced his critics by staging a critical victory in Burnaby South (Vancouver) seat for the House of Commons in the byelection.
For Singh, who secured 39 per cent of votes against 26 per cent by arch-rival and Labour Party candidate Richard T. Lee and 26 per cent by the Conservative Party candidate Jay Shin, the victory in the byelection has come as a surprise gift.
Jagmeet Singh Jimmy Dhaliwal, who was elected as the leader of the NDP in 2017, was facing opposition from within to an extent that former party Leader Tom Muclair had openly stated in January that it would be very difficult for Singh to retain his position as the NDP chief if he lost the Burnaby South bypoll.
The NDP had started touching a new low under what was described as Singh’s ‘troubled leadership’ as its fund-raising had started going down and 11 of party’s 44 MPs, who had staged victory in 2015, had announced that they won’t see any re-election in Federal polls due October this year.
The Liberals wrested the Outremont seat from the former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair in Quebec province. Rachel Bendayan, the Liberal Party candidate secured 40 per cent vote against 26.1 per cent secured by Mulciar. Julia Sanchez, the NDP’s candidate in Outremont, finished second by with 33.5 per cent votes.
Ontairo’s York-Simcoe seat has been won by Conservative Party candidate Scot Davidson.
So, the byelections at all of three ridings of Burnaby South, Outremont and York—Simcoe proved to be a mixed bag for the NDP, the Liberals and the Conservatives with each of three claiming one seat in BC, Ontario and Quebec provinces.
Jagmeet has criticised the Conservatives and the Liberals in his victory speech. Apparantly targeting the Liberals for having allegedly ‘favoured’ multi-national SNC-Lavalin, he said common Candians were ‘ignored’ while corporations were ‘enriched’.
Referring to forthcoming October Federal polls and the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Singh thanked his supporters saying Canadians had just eight months for choosing a government that stood by commoners and not by corporations. He assured people that he will work hard to ensure a universal pharmacare plan for the countrymen apart from fighting poverty when he took his seat in the House of Commons.
He has also promised to help his party ‘reconnect’ with people of Quebec who have seemingly ‘parted company’ with the NDP in the bypolls.
The York-Simcoe seat in Ontario, where the Conservatives have staged victory, had fallen vacant following an announcement by former MP Peter Van Loan and a close associate of former PM Stephen Harper regarding his retirement from politics in September. Van Loan had won the York—Simcoe seat in the 2015 federal election securing more than 50 per cent as against 38 per cent secured by the Liberals.
Jagmeet Singh had run for about 16 months sans a seat in the House of Commons. By winning the Burnaby South seats he has defied most of his critics within his party and the poll pundits. The victory has given a new lease of life in politics to Singh who will be seen as a strong alternative to PM Justin Trudeau at national level.
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