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Trudeau needs to halt byelections as COVID-19 surges in Toronto, Green leader says

OTTAWA — Green party Leader Annamie Paul says with COVID-19 cases rising in Toronto, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should suspend two byelections underway there.

Paul, who took the reins of the Green Party of Canada last Saturday, is also the party’s candidate in the Oct. 26 byelection in Toronto Centre.

A second byelection is underway in the York Centre riding.

Toronto is reporting more than 300 new cases of COVID-19 today and the province is about to impose new closures on restaurants, bars and gyms in Toronto, suburban Peel region and Ottawa, where the outbreaks are concentrated.

Paul says there are low-income and racialized neighbourhoods in Toronto Centre that are among the hardest hit and asking people to participate in a byelection now is unwise and undemocratic.

Under the Canada Elections Act, the chief electoral officer can recommend that it is unsafe to continue an election, but it is up to the prime minister to make the actual call.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2020.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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