After 10 months of standing outside the House of Commons, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has finally decided to try to take a seat.
Singh is expected to announce today that he’ll be running in the upcoming by-election in the British Columbia riding of Burnaby South, which will be officially vacated in September when NDP MP Kennedy Stewart steps aside to mount his bid for the mayor’s office in Vancouver.
It won’t be a cakewalk for Singh. The byelection itself has yet to be scheduled, it must be called within six months of Stewart officially vacating the seat.
The Liberals could bundle the vote with ones that must be held to fill vacancies in the Quebec riding of Outremont vacated by Tom Mulcair, Singh’s predecessor and the Ontario riding of Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, left vacant by the death of Conservative MP Gord Brown in May.
A byelection campaign in Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes must begin by Oct. 30. But a provincial election in Quebec on Oct. 1, and municipal elections in B.C. on Oct. 20, limit the Liberals’ options in choosing a date.
Singh’s decision to run comes after nearly a year of expressing his comfort at being without a seat. He also has said that he’d prefer to run in a riding where he has a personal connection. While Singh has suggested that ridings in Windsor, Toronto and Brampton met that condition, Burnaby was never on the list.
But there’s a practical limit on Singh’s choices. Of the seven ridings that have held byelections since he took over the NDP — and those where byelections are pending — Burnaby South is the first to fall vacant where the New Democrats have a realistic shot.