Singh opens of­fice for by­elec­tion with mes­sage to Trudeau

Vancouver Sun - - CITY - JEN­NIFER SALTMAN jen­salt­[email protected]­ twit­­salt­man — With files from The Cana­dian Press

Fed­eral NDP Leader Jag­meet Singh says Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau needs to do ev­ery­thing he can to pro­tect the safety and se­cu­rity of two Cana­dian cit­i­zens who are be­ing de­tained in China.

Michael Kovrig, a Cana­dian diplo­mat on leave, and Michael Spa­vor, an en­tre­pre­neur, were ar­rested last month af­ter Chi­nese telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ex­ec­u­tive Meng Wanzhou was taken into cus­tody in Van­cou­ver at the re­quest of the U.S., which wants her ex­tra­dited to face fraud charges.

Singh said ev­ery­one needs to stand to­gether in sup­port of the two men and it’s “cru­cial and vi­tal” that Justin Trudeau works to

pro­tect them. The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment has been urg­ing China to re­lease the men.

“They’re not re­ceiv­ing due process — this is deeply con­cern­ing,” Singh said. “We need to know what the al­le­ga­tions are. What are the crimes that they’re al­leged to have com­mit­ted? Why are they be­ing de­tained? I would ask these dif­fi­cult ques­tions to the (Chi­nese) gov­ern­ment.”

Singh made his com­ments Sun­day at the of­fi­cial open­ing of his by­elec­tion cam­paign of­fice in Burn­aby. Trudeau an­nounced last week that the Burn­aby South by­elec­tion — along with two oth­ers in On­tario and Que­bec — will take place Feb. 25.

Kennedy Ste­wart va­cated the seat in Septem­ber, when he sub­mit­ted his nom­i­na­tion pa­pers for the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion. Ste­wart, who won Burn­aby South in 2015 by just over 500 votes, was elected mayor of Van­cou­ver in Oc­to­ber.

The elec­tion is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for Singh, who leads the NDP but doesn’t have a seat in the House of Com­mons.

Be­fore he was cho­sen leader in 2017, Singh was the On­tario MPP for Bra­malea- Gore-Mal­ton.

Singh said the ma­jor is­sues he is fo­cus­ing on for the by­elec­tion are hous­ing, health care and the en­vi­ron­ment.

This in­cludes build­ing co-op­er­a­tive and non-mar­ket hous­ing, ex­pand­ing health-care cov­er­age to in­clude med­i­ca­tion, and in­vest­ing in clean-en­ergy jobs and the “green” econ­omy.

“When it comes to the things that mat­ter to peo­ple, New Democrats are in peo­ple’s cor­ner,” Singh told the crowd out­side his cam­paign of­fice.

Singh re­ceived an en­dorse­ment Sun­day from for­mer NDP MP Svend Robin­son, who has ex­pressed in­ter­est in run­ning in Burn­aby North-Sey­mour in the fall.

“It’s a great com­mu­nity, Jag­meet. You’re com­ing into a com­mu­nity that wel­comes you and wel­comes your pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics,” Robin­son told sup­port­ers.

The Lib­er­als are run­ning day­care op­er­a­tor Karen Wang — who kicked off her cam­paign Sun­day — and cor­po­rate lawyer Jay Shin has the nom­i­na­tion for the Con­ser­va­tives.

Laura-Lynn Tyler Thomp­son is run­ning for the Peo­ple’s Party of Canada. The Green Party of Canada hasn’t nom­i­nated a can­di­date, ex­tend­ing Singh “leader’s courtesy.”

A gen­eral fed­eral elec­tion is sched­uled for Oct. 21.


NDP Leader Jag­meet Singh ad­dresses sup­port­ers on Sun­day as he opens his cam­paign of­fice fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of the Burn­aby South by­elec­tion set for Feb. 25.

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