Ujjal Dosanjh predicts tight race in B.C. ridings as parties gear up for federal election
Vancouver South MPUjjal Dosanjh says the nonconfidence motion that toppled the Stephen Harper government today was an “unprecedented, historic guilty verdict”.
Dosanjh was one of 156 opposition MPs who voted in favour of the Liberal motion that found the government in contempt of Parliament.
Earlier this week, an opposition-dominated Commons committee found the Conservative government in contempt of Parliament for withholding information on the cost of fighter jets, crime legislation and corporate tax cuts.
Dosanjh said the parliamentary budget officer indicated the cost of the fighter jets could be double the initial estimated costs, at over $29 billion.
“That’s a total of about $70 billion, 30 in jets, 15 in jails, and $30 billion over five years in tax cuts for corporations,” said Dosanjh. “That’s $70 billion in the next few years that they were not prepared to disclose and be frank about with Canadians. That’s why the motion of contempt succeeded.”
As federal political parties now gear up for an election campaign that is expected to be triggered Saturday, Dosanjh said issues such as seniors, crime, postsecondary education and affordable housing will be the focus of his campaign.
Dosanjh said while a quarter of Vancouver’s seniors live in his riding, there are no senior centres in the area.
“There are nine seniors centres in Vancouver, practically eight of them on the west side, west of Main Street, only one east of Main,” he said. “I’ve spoken about that issue twice in the House, and not a word from the government.”
Dosanjh said he expects the election to be a “very tough race” in ridings like his.
“I’m going to be working hard, it’s going to be a peaceful house-to-house combat in my riding,” he said, laughing. “I’m going to be at every doorstep, I’m going to try to re-earn the trust of my constituents who didn’t vote for me last time.”
Dosanjh disputed claims that the NDP stand to gain seats in B.C., and said he thinks the Liberals have a chance to increase support in the province.
“There’s no question that there are seats where, particularly in rural British Columbia, NDP win those seats traditionally against the Conservatives, and there are seats traditionally that we have won against the Conservatives,” he said. “We had nine seats in the ’06 campaign, and we’re down to five. If our numbers remain where they are in British Columbia in the mid-20s, I believe that we may pick up some seats.”
“It’s going to be a close race,” he added.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he will meet with the governor general tomorrow to trigger an election, which is expected to end in early May.