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Left-wing party wins seat in parliament, threatening Trudeau's Liberals

Ben Nelms, Reuters | The leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Jagmeet Singh, celebrates with his wife Gurkiran Kaur Sidhu at the Burnaby South by-election in British Columbia on February 25.

The leader of Canada's left-wing New Democratic Party and first member of a minority ahead of a major movement, Jagmeet Singh, has won his first seat in parliament. The NDP is expected to pull votes from PM Trudeau's Liberals in October elections.

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Jagmeet Singh, a practising Sikh, shot to prominence in October 2017 when he became the first ethnic minority leader of a major federal political party in Canada.

At 40, his win in a by-election in a Vancouver suburb on Monday sets the stage for the NDP to steal votes on the left and hurt Liberal hopes of hanging onto their majority in parliament in the upcoming general election.

In the lead up to Monday's special ballot, Singh struggled with low national visibility and insider criticism of his leadership.

Now, with eight months to go before the general election, he will face off almost daily against Trudeau in the House of Commons.

The third-ranked NDP, however, lost another seat in Montreal held by Singh's predecessor to the Liberals.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Tories -- which are neck and neck with the Liberals in recent public opinion polls -- held onto a seat in the Toronto area.

Pundits were watching to see if an upstart People's Party, led by former Tory foreign minister Maxime Bernier, would split away significant votes from the Conservatives on the right -- which would help the Liberals in October.

But it barely registered in all three special ballots held Monday.

(AFP)

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