OTTAWA – NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has learned he will have a chance in early February to win a seat in British Columbia in the House of Commons – just as a friend traveling in his hometown of Brampton, Ontario, became available.
Liberal Raj Grewal announced on Thursday that he is resigning as MP by Brampton East for unspecified "personal and medical reasons". Mark Holland said Grewal's resignation would take effect immediately.
The surprise news fell as liberal members confirmed that earlier this year Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will convene three elections – including at Burnaby South, where Singh has already been nominated to run – in early February.
Brampton East could now be added to the list.
Trudeau could also score one more election in B.C. for the same date. A sixth round, which will be canceled Jan. 22 by liberal congressman Nicola Di Iorio of Montreal, is to remain without representation until the general election scheduled for next October.
When Singh was first chosen as NDP leader last fall, he said he would like to run for federal government in Brampton East, the six-year riding in the Ontario legislature that is now represented by his brother, Gurratan.
Initially, he intended to wait until the general election to seek a place in the House of Commons, but he was under intense pressure to enter the House earlier, having begun poorly as a leader. He announced in August that he would run into Burnaby South, where NDP MP Kennedy Stewart announced his intention to resign and run for mayor of Vancouver.
Singh was nominated as NDP candidate for Burnaby South in mid-September, for whenever the election arrives.
Singh faces a much tougher fight in B.C. riding, where Stewart had only 547 more votes than the liberal candidate in 2015, than he would in his hometown of Brampton. In fact, the Liberals are particularly concerned that Singh could lose the Burnaby South election, prompting the NDP to abandon him and pick a potentially more attractive leader ahead of the general election next fall.
After weeks of debate in Trudeau's inner circle, people inside say the prime minister has decided that the Liberals will run a candidate against Singh instead of standing aside to give him a better chance. They say the decision is based on the wishes of the grassroots liberals in B.C., who were almost unanimous in wanting to fight in Burnaby South.
A Singh spokesman did not immediately respond to a question about whether the leader might consider giving up Burnaby South and running for Brampton East.
Changing would not be without consequences for Singh, who strove to assure Burnaby voters that he is not a political tourist. He said that he and his wife intend to live in the race and that he will run there in the general election as well.
"I'm all in Burnaby," he said in August.
But that was before Brampton opened up.
Grewal said in a Facebook post that he was struggling with the decision to resign for some time.
In a tweet, Trudeau said he learned on Wednesday that Grewal "is facing serious personal challenges" and is leaving office.
"Although it may have been a difficult decision, it was the right decision. I hope he gets the support he needs, "Trudeau wrote.
I'm all in Burnaby
Trudeau was criticized last month when he convened a byelection in eastern Ontario by riding Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes for December 3, leaving Burnaby South, Outremont Montreal riding and vacant York-Simcoe Ontario.
At the time, Trudeau argued that the other three had only been vacated recently, while Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes had run out of parliament for almost six months since Conservative Gordon Brown's death.
Insiders now say that Trudeau will set a date in early February for the other three elections. He will wait until early January to call for candidates not to campaign during the holiday season.
If New Democracy MP Sheila Malcolmson leaves Nanaimo-Ladysmith in British Columbia next year, Trudeau could call that election at the same time.
Malcolmson, who is making a leap into provincial politics, has announced his intention to step down once a pre-election is officially convened at Nanaimo provincial horseback riding. The current MLA, Leonard Krog, was elected mayor of Nanaimo last month but has not yet given up his legislative seat.
If Malcolmson does not leave his federal seat by the end of January, Nanaimo-Ladysmith may end up in the same boat as the tour of Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel in Di Iorio: without a congressman until next fall.
The C-76 bill, which the government expects to be approved by the end of this year, bans the prime minister from canceling the election nine months after the general election day. called.