TORONTO: The federal Liberal Party has pitted daycare operator Karen Wang against NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in the upcoming parliamentary by-election in Burnaby South.
“We are very proud to have Karen Wang on Team Trudeau for the upcoming by-election in Burnaby South, as our Liberal movement continues to grow across British Columbia,” said Suzanne Cowan, President of the Liberal Party of Canada, in a press release on December 29.
“Karen is a dedicated community leader and a champion for a strong middle class, and she’ll never stop working hard to build a better future for families in Burnaby South.’’
What should cheer up Jagmeet is that the BC NDP had won all the provincial assembly seats in Burnaby in 2017.
But in the 2015 federal election, NDP’s Kennedy Stewart, who vacated the seat to run and win mayorship of Vancouver, barely managed to win by a margin of less than 600 votes against Liberal candidate Adam Pankratz. While Stewart got 16,094 votes, Pankratz won 15,547 votes.
So it won’t be smooth sailing for Jagmeet Singh in the upcoming by-election.
His opponent Karen Wang is likely to garner majority support from Chinese-speaking voters in Burnaby South. As per the 2016 census, there are 19,670 Mandarin speakers and 13,375 Cantonese speakers in the riding. In fact, Ethnic Chinese make up almost 39 percent of the population in the riding.
On the other hand, there are just 2,375 Punjabi speakers in the riding where South Asians make up about 8.5 percent of the total population of over 111,000. There were 75,950 eligible voters in the riding in 2015.
Jay Shin, who is a fluent Korean-speaking lawyer, is the Conservative Party candidate in the by-election – the dates which are yet to be announced.