NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh holds Laurier LeSieur, 5 months, while speaking with his parents during a visit to the Rumble on Gray Street Fair, in Burnaby, B.C., on Saturday September 15, 2018. Singh is scheduled to be officially nominated as the party’s candidate in the Burnaby-South byelection at a nomination meeting Saturday afternoon. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh set to run in B.C.’s Burnaby South riding after nomination

Singh blamed the Liberals and Conservatives for the current state of the country

Federal New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh will run in an upcoming byelection in British Columbia.

A crowd cheered and clapped as Singh formally announced his nomination for the riding of Burnaby South at an event Saturday.

Singh told them he wants to have a strategy that will solve the housing crisis in Vancouver, reduce the cost of prescription medications and fight climate change by focusing on clean energy.

“What’s at stake is we’ve got a Liberal government that is not doing what people need,” he said.

“Instead of investing and dealing with the national housing crisis, they spent $4.5 billion on buying a pipeline,” Singh said as the crowd chanted, “shame.”

He promised that an NDP government would invest in building affordable housing, co-operatives and non-market housing, as well as provide income support to people.

Singh blamed the Liberals and Conservatives for the current state of the country, saying the two parties don’t get and don’t care what people are going through.

“We have a government that is not willing to do what people need. And we had a Conservative government that put us in this position in the first place.”

He added that people are counting on the NDP, and the party can’t let them down.

READ MORE: Jagmeet Singh says he and NDP must do better at communicating with Canadians

READ MORE: Federal NDP financial troubles continue as party reports raising less than $5M in 2017

Singh announced his intention to run in Burnaby South in early August.

The riding was held by former New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart, who gave it up on Friday to run for mayor of Vancouver.

The 39-year-old Ontario-born Singh, who doesn’t live in the riding, is opposed to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline and has called for a more thorough environmental review of the project.

The government, he has repeatedly said, needs to invest in clean energy jobs.

The federal government’s approval of the pipeline was recently overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal.

The pipeline runs from Edmonton to Burnaby and has met with strong opposition in the Vancouver area.

Singh said the court ruling supported what Canadians have long maintained about the environment, then added “We have to stop taking First Nations to court.”

Among Singh’s supporters in the crowd was Allan Warner, a retired grade 6 teacher and resident of Vancouver Kingsway. He described Singh as a hard worker, intelligent and a good candidate.

Warner said Singh is not conservative like Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, and is more honest than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Liberals promise like the NDP and govern like Conservatives. At least the Conservatives promise to be conservative. Liberals promise to be progressive and they don’t always act that way,” he said.

If Singh wins the byelection, he has said he will also run in the riding in the general election in 2019.

The prime minister must call a byelection within the next six months, but Singh, who noted that he and his wife are currently looking for an apartment in Burnaby, said he wants the date set “as quickly as possible.”

Singh represented the Toronto-area riding of Bramalea-Gore-Malton in Ontario’s legislature from 2011 to 2017, and served as the provincial NDP’s deputy leader before replacing Tom Mulcair as federal leader last fall.

B.C. deputy speaker, Burnaby-Edmonds NDP MLA Raj Chouhan, said he thinks Singh has a “very good chance” of winning the riding in spite of being from Ontario because he has a high profile, which will give the issues that people care about a voice.

“What we have seen under the Harper government and even under Mr. Scheer… all they talk about is how to make it easy and more profitable for the top one per cent.”

Singh, he suggested, is in touch with the grassroots and understands issues affecting the common man.

The difference between Singh and Scheer is “like night and day,” he said.

Singh wrapped up a three-day caucus retreat in Surrey, B.C., this week amid criticism from party stalwarts about weak fundraising and his controversial decision to oust Regina MP Erin Weir over harassment complaints.

The party raised $4.86 million from 39,053 donors in 2017, down from $5.39 million in 2016, and way down from the $18.59 million raised in 2015.

Alex Chan a third year undergraduate student at Simon Fraser University who introduced Singh at Saturday’s nomination event, said he understands that the party has work to do raising funds, and will do it.

During the retreat, Singh delivered a campaign-style speech to supporters where he took several jabs at Trudeau, giving a glimpse of what could turn out to be a feisty campaign.

In an interview earlier in the week he acknowledged that it’s been tough to achieve his vision as a new federal leader although he has found the experience rewarding.

Singh also said he must do a better job of communicating with Canadians.

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Snow covers southern B.C. highway

Burns Lake residents might not be happy about the cooler temperatures this… Continue reading

Community targets VQO rules amid fire safety concerns

Wildfire season is upon us in northern British Columbia, and some Burns… Continue reading

Burns Lake Save-On-Foods boasts zero food waste

The local Save-On-Foods in Burns Lake is among most of the supermarket… Continue reading

Chinook Comfor donates $5,000 to Spirit North

Mountain bikers at Bike Camp pose as a cheque for $5,000 from… Continue reading

Sharing with the community

Staff at Save-On-Foods join the Share it Forward event at the store… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

Victoria area school grapples with death of 13-year-old

Teenager died after being struck and pinned by tree while on a field trip near Sooke

B.C. imposes interim moratorium on resource development to protect caribou

The caribou population in northeastern B.C. has dwindled over the last two decades

B.C. sculptor depicts epic eagle battle in latest piece that took 2,500 hours

Clasped in one of the raptor’s talons is each one’s desire: a living venomous diamondback rattlesnake

Students disciplined after anti-LGBTQ signs posted in Kamloops high school

Vessy Mochikas, SD73’s principal for inclusive education, called incident a learning opportunity

Air Canada expects Boeing 737 Max to resume flying by September or October

Air Canada isn’t worried about safety of the planes, says vice-president

‘The Fonz’ gives thumbs up in letter to dyslexic students at B.C. school

Students in Maple Ridge reached out to Henry Winkler after reading one his Zipster books.

PHOTOS: MP Mark Warawa loses brief battle with cancer

The Conservative Member of Parliament and long-time community advocate died in hospice this morning

Most Read