OTTAWA – NDP Leader and MP-hopeful Jagmeet Singh is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to quickly call byelections in the handful of ridings where there are current or soon-to-be vacancies, including the constituency he plans to run in.

When asked by Evan Solomon, host of CTV’s Question Period, whether he was worried the Liberals could delay calling the byelection for months to put off his potential ability to get into the House, Singh said what concerned him was that Canadians in five ridings across Canada currently don’t have an MP or will soon lose one.

“I’m worried about the fact that the people of Burnaby South and in fact the four other byelections don’t have representation. I’m worried about the fact that they deserve to have representation and this government is not calling the byelection or letting us know when they are going to call it,” Singh said.

He announced last month that he intends to run for a seat in Burnaby South, in a yet-to-be announced federal byelection, hoping to take over from outgoing NDP MP Kennedy Stewart.

There are currently five ridings where byelections are expected:

  • Leeds-Grenville, Ont., previously held by Conservative MP Gord Brown, who died unexpectedly in May;
  • Outremont, Que., previously held by NDP MP Tom Mulcair, who officially vacated his seat in August;
  • Burnaby South, B.C., previously held by NDP MP Kennedy Stewart, who resigned his seat effective on Friday;
  • York-Simcoe, Ont., which is still held by Conservative MP Peter Van Loan, but will be vacant effective Sept. 30 when he’s announced he’ll be resigning; and
  • Saint-Léonard-Saint-Michel, Que., which is still held by Liberal MP Nicola Di Iorio, who has said he’s leaving for family reasons but has yet to officially do so.

Once a vacancy is official, the prime minister has up to 180 days to call a byelection, which in the case of the Leeds-Grenville riding will have to be very soon.

Though, Trudeau could take months to call the other four, the dates for which have to be 36 days after the campaign has been called.

In the past, byelections have been put off and wrapped into the general election when they came up too close to the Canada-wide campaign.

The next federal election is scheduled for October 21, 2019.