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Federal byelections primer: Jagmeet Singh’s NDP vying for crucial Quebec, B.C. ridings

Voters head to the polls in three federal byelections
WATCH: Voters head to the polls in three federal byelections

Three federal byelections are being held Monday, just months before the actual election takes place in October — and the stakes are high.

READ MORE: Liberal turmoil a ‘gift’ for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, expert says

The biggest thing to watch for is whether New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh nabs a seat in the House of Commons.

Here’s a look at what the parties are hoping to gain (and what they have to lose):

Burnaby South

Burnaby South is where Singh, who was named NDP leader about 18 months ago, is finally hoping to win his first seat in federal politics.

Winning in Burnaby is key for Singh who has faced criticism that his performance as leader has been underwhelming, and he is still relatively unknown across the country.

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READ MORE: NDP’s Jagmeet Singh fights for a seat during federal byelections

Under his leadership, the NDP has plunged to its lowest standings in public opinion polls since 2000, when it won just 13 seats.

The party is mired in debt and its fundraising is sluggish. At least 11 of the 44 MPs who won seats for the party in 2015 have announced they won’t seek re-election this fall.

WATCH: Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh under pressure to win Burnaby-South byelection

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh under pressure to win Burnaby-South byelection
Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh under pressure to win Burnaby-South byelection

Singh is running against Liberal candidate Richard T. Lee, Conservatives’ Jay Shin and Laura-Lynn Thompson from the People’s Party of Canada (PPC).

Voters can cast their ballots at local stations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

Outremont

While most eyes are on Burnaby on Monday evening, the Montreal riding of Outremont is important to watch for the NDP as well.

The riding was previously held by former NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, but before that, it was a Liberal stronghold.

READ MORE: What’s at stake for federal parties in Outremont byelection on Monday

Muclair’s victory turned Outremont into a beachhead for the NDP, which helped to launch the so-called orange wave that swept the province in 2011 and boosted the party to official Opposition status for the first time in its history.

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While the party held onto just 16 Quebec seats in 2015, Quebec MPs still make up more than a third of the NDP caucus.

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Tom Mulcair calls on Canada to be champion of democracy as he marks his retirement
Tom Mulcair calls on Canada to be champion of democracy as he marks his retirement

The candidates running in Outremont are: Liberal Rachel Bendayan, NDP Julia Sanchez, Conservative Jasmine Louras, Green Party’s Daniel Green, Michel Duchesne from Bloc Québécois and James Seale from the PPC.

Polling stations are open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time.

York-Simcoe

The third byelection is being held in the Ontario riding of York-Simcoe, which was left vacant by the retirement of Peter Van Loan.

Van Loan, who had held the seat for the Conservatives since 2004, won with a healthy 50 per cent of the votes in 2015. The Tories are expected to easily hang on Monday night.

The candidates in York-Simcoe are: NDP’s Jessa McLean, Liberal Shaun Tanaka, Scot Davidson from the Conservative Party and Robert Geurts from the PPC.

Voters can cast their ballots at local stations from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time.

WATCH: Federal byelections being held in BC, Ontario, Quebec

Federal byelections being held in BC, Ontario, Quebec
Federal byelections being held in BC, Ontario, Quebec

— With files from The Canadian Press

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