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Parties’ heavyweights chip in for Burnaby South byelection


Canada’s two biggest parties are trying to keep NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh out of the House of Commons by enlisting some of their top brass to campaign in the Burnaby South byelection.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is in the riding tonight. He’ll be rallying supporters there for his party’s candidate, corporate lawyer Jay Shin. Scheer will be joined by the party’s 2019 candidate in the next door riding of New Westminster–Burnaby, Megan Veck, according to a tweet by Veck.

Other Conservatives to campaign for Shin publicly include nearby Richmond Centre MP Alice Wong, Deputy Opposition Whip John Brassard, and Chicoutimi-Le Fjord byelection winner Richard Martel. Martel is the only Conservative elected in a byelection in a riding that was last held by another party.

New Liberal candidate Richard T. Lee has been aided by cabinet ministers Ahmed Hussen, Carolyn Bennett, Carla Qualtrough and Harjit Sajjan, and their staff, who have each taken time to make calls to the riding, according to posts made on social media. Sajjan, the minister of national defence, who represents Vancouver South, also went out door-knocking with Lee.

Liberal Party president Suzanne Cowan visited Burnaby South, while a cast of Liberal MPs that include Mona Fortier, Sven Spengemann and Celina Caesar-Chavannes have also made phone calls on Lee’s behalf, according to a tweet by Fortier.

Lee, a former British Columbia MLA, replaced Karen Wang as the party’s candidate after a highly-publicized debacle in which she resigned, then tried to restore her candidacy and was disallowed by the Liberals.

Singh hasn’t been without his own party’s boost of star power. He’s been backed by fellow B.C. MPs Jenny Kwan, Peter Julian and Don Davies at Burnaby South events since the byelection was called.

The byelection to fill the seat left open by former NDP MP and current Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart will be held on Feb. 25.

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