Sri Lankan-born Canadian politico to run for Liberal Party

Saturday, 23 April 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lankan-born Canadian politician Rathika Sitsabaiesan is to contest the Canadian elections for the Ontario Liberal Party.

Sitsabaiesan, the former NDP MP for the Toronto-area riding of Scarborough–Rouge River submitted her nomination papers to the Ontario Liberal Party this week, The Huffington Post reported.

She is seeking a seat in an upcoming byelection in Scarborough–Rouge River, vacant since longtime MPP Bas Balkissoon’s surprising resignation last month. The riding has been Liberal since its creation in 1999.  Sitsabaiesan was defeated in the 19 October federal election when the NDP was completely wiped out in Toronto. She came in third with 22% support, 10,000 votes behind her Liberal rival, Shaun Chen, who won 48% of the vote. The Conservative, Ravinder Malhi, came in second with 27%. The 34-year-old was only elected in 2011 under then NDP leader Jack Layton’s wave, winning what had originally been thought of as a safe Liberal seat. Born in Sri Lanka, Sitsabaiesan became the first parliamentarian of Tamil descent. She immigrated to Canada when she was five. On 28 March, she took to Facebook to thank her supporters and announce that she had taken a vacation, got some much needed rest and spent time with her family.

“I am now back home in Scarborough and ready to figure out and work toward the next step,” she wrote. No matter what, I will always love and work for the betterment of our communities, province, country and global society.”

Her page makes no mention of running for Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals; it features mostly election-style posts urging people to vote for the federal NDP.