Jagmeet Singh wins crucial by-election, will be first non-white leader in House of Commons

Feb 26 2019, 1:30 am

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has won the federal by-election in the riding of Burnaby South, clearing a critical hurdle for him to battle Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the  federal race this fall.

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Singh will fill the seat vacated by former NDP MP – and now Vancouver Mayor – Kennedy Stewart.

Singh won the seat won with 38.8% of the vote over Liberal candidate Richard T. Lee who managed 26.1% of the vote, with 96% of polls counted.

“It’s a new day,” Singh told supporters after clinching the pivotal win. “To Burnaby South, thank you for trusting me to be your Member of Parliament.”

He added there were “people who helped out across the country in so many ways, and I want to thank them; I’m humbled by your support for our party and I’m humbled by your belief in me.”

Telling his supporters that “we made history today,” Singh said that growing up as a kid, he could “never have imagined someone like me running to be Prime Minister. But we just told a lot of kids out there that ‘Yes you can.'”

He said he recognizes the responsibility his role carries and “that when I take my seat in the House of Commons, I will work hard to make you all very proud.”

Jagmeet Singh addressing supporters after by-election win in Burnaby.

Singh was a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) in Ontario, before being chosen as NDP party leader in October 2017.

This was a crucial election for Singh because until now, he has been without a seat in the House of Commons.

Prior to tonight’s vote there were reports Singh would be forced to step down as party leader if he failed to win the seat.

“Eight more months”

Singh recognized the hard work isn’t over, though – in fact very much the opposite, as the federal election is in just eight months.

“Eight more months to let the people know that they can chose a government that stands up for people, not corporations,” he said. “A chance to show people they can vote for those who are on their side – we are on the side of people.”

The Conservatives and Liberals, he said, “have rigged a system that works for the powerful, the wealthy, and the well-connected – not for everyday Canadians.”

Now, he continued, “time’s up. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can fix it, and we will fix it. We can make different choices and get better results. We can make life easier for people – not easier for corporations to take advantage of us. We can actually take care of each other, instead of being taken for granted, and we can choose to help people now.”