Friday , December 3 2021

Sheila Malcomson acclaimed as NDP candidate, set up key for Nanaimo byelection key


All three provincial parties have chosen candidates with name recognition for a key city section in Nanaimo, which has the potential to shake up the balance of power in B.C. legislature.

At a nomination meeting for the NDP on Sunday, MP Sheila Malcolmson is celebrated as the party's candidate to keep the seat free when NDP MLA Leonard Krog resigned to become mayor of Nanaimo.

Malcolmson, who has to resign as Nanaimo-Ladysmith NDP MP to run in the city election, hopes she can make the jump from federal to provincial politics.

"We have made a lot of progress with B.C. NDP in force. We have a lot of optimism in our society," she said.

Nanaimo riding has long been an NDP bracket. But byelections are traditionally more difficult to call.

High efforts

If the NDP loses its seat to the Liberals, both the NDP Green Partnership and Liberals will be even in 43 places – a scenario that is expected to be unstable and lead to an early general election.

"The efforts are so high. We know that the liberals will throw everything they have to win," said Malcolmson.

"We know that they will use this city election to try to overthrow the government and lead to a general election. So we will work harder than ever to win the Nanaimo voters."

The Liberals moved quickly to nominate the famous Nanaimo businessman Tony Harris as the party's candidate in early November.

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson watches as Tony Harris talks to the media in Nanaimo at the launch of his campaign to replace NDP MLA Leonard Krog. (Chek)

While the seats give great attention for political reasons, Harris said his campaign will focus on the problems the city is struggling with, such as homelessness, poverty and care.

"It's a campaign about Nanaimo and I think the lens is focused on our society unlike any time in history and it's really important because our community has been overlooked for a long time," he said.

"Extra set of elbows"

B.C. Greens elected teacher Michele Ney as a candidate in a 24-hour voting process that ended on Saturday.

Ney's father was Mayor of Nanaimo for more than two decades and an MLA for four years.

"This feels like a soap opera to tell you the truth because you have two famous people I encounter and of course, I'm also a relatively well-known name," she said.

On Saturday, December 15, 2018, B.C. Green Party nominated Michele Ney to run in the upcoming provincial bite for Nanaimo. (B.C. Green Party)

Although the outcome of the contest could have an impact on the power of Green-NDP, Ney said she was not worried that it would be possible to split the vote.

Instead, she said that she is focused on bringing another voice to the legislator who will pursue policies that protect the environment and fight climate change.

"We can not continue to go in the direction we go. We have to turn this ship now and it will give the green an extra set of elbows in the legislature," she said.

No date has been set for City Selection.

However, Premier John Horgan has said he would like to see the chair filled up with the next provincial budget in February, so the candidates are preparing for the campaign to begin in January.

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