NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh won the Burnaby South byelection on Monday night, nearly 18 months after winning the federal NDP leadership. The 40-year-old captured 38.7 per cent of the vote with 182 of 196 polls reporting.
With some polls still left to count, Liberal candidate Richard T. Lee is in second place and Conservative candidate Jay Shin is in third. Laura-Lynn Thompson of the People’s Party of Canada is in fourth.
“It’s a new day,” Singh told a crowd of supporters following the win.
“Friends, we made history today.”
Thank you #BurnabySouth! I'm determined & ready to fight for the help people need – from the housing crisis to health care not covering everyone the way it should, Canadians deserve better. This isn’t the end of a campaign – it's the beginning of one.
See you in Parliament. pic.twitter.com/x8Q1SyHcEU
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) February 26, 2019
“When I was growing up I could have never imagined someone like me ever running to be prime minister. But guess what, we just told a lot of kids out there that, yes you can.”
While victory tightens Singh’s shaky grip on the reins of the NDP, the challenge ahead was underscored by the simultaneous loss of the Montreal riding that launched the NDP’s orange wave that swept Quebec in 2011.
In Outremont, Liberal contender Rachel Bendayan held more than 42 per cent of the vote with two-thirds of the riding’s polls reporting results, with the NDP’s Julia Sanchez running second with just over 25 per cent.
The campaign has been an eventful one. Singh was put under pressure to run for the NDP in a byelection and was ultimately convinced to move to B.C.
Singh’s political roots are in Ontario. He grew up in Metro Toronto and served as a Member of Provincial Parliament in Bramalea—Gore—Malton. He decided to move west for a chance at getting into the House of Commons before October’s provincial election.
“I love it here. The winters are pretty amazing,” Singh said before Monday night’s win. “But more importantly I love the people here. They are incredible folks. It is a testament of how incredible our country is from coast to coast to coast. We have incredible people that call Canada home, folks that really want to take care of one another and I really am tapping into that energy to lead a party that really wants to make people‘s lives better.”
Singh now leads a party in the House of Commons with 41 seats. He is expected to take his seat soon once the results from Monday’s vote are made official.
The NDP has been trailing both the Liberals and the Conservatives in the national polls and will now have an opportunity to push Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on crucial issues in Question Period.
The SNC-Lavalin scandal involving Trudeau and former minister Jody Wilson-Raybould made national headlines during the campaign. Singh is calling for an independent public inquiry into alleged attempts from the Prime Minister’s Office to pressure Wilson-Raybould into dropping charges against SNC-Lavalin.
Singh said Monday night that his sights are now set on October’s federal election.
“We have eight more months to let the people know that they can choose a government that stands up for people not for corporations, that doesn’t give handouts to SNC-Lavalin, but stands up for everyday Canadians.”