Party leaders join the fray in provin­cial bat­tle for Nanaimo

Times Colonist - - Island / B.c. - CARLA WIL­SON

Can­di­dates in Nanaimo’s Jan. 30 provin­cial by­elec­tion pulled in the po­lit­i­cal star power this week­end to try to bol­ster their chances.

The B.C. Green Party’s Michele Ney, a re­tired teacher, was out door-knock­ing with party leader An­drew Weaver on Satur­day.

Fi­nance Min­is­ter and for­mer B.C. NDP leader Ca­role James was in Nanaimo to sup­port can­di­date Sheila Mal­colm­son, while B.C. Lib­eral Party Leader An­drew Wilkin­son joined can­di­date Tony Har­ris, a local busi­ness­man, at his cam­paign head­quar­ters.

Also running in Nanaimo are Justin Green­wood, in­terim deputy leader of the B.C. Con­ser­va­tive Party, Lib­er­tar­ian Bill Walker and Robin Richard­son of the Van­cou­ver Is­land Party.

Can­di­dates are fight­ing for local votes, but this race is es­sen­tially a mini-provin­cial elec­tion be­cause it could al­ter the bal­ance of power in the leg­is­la­ture.

The NDP-Green al­liance is hold­ing onto power with 44 seats to the 42 held by the Lib­er­als. If Har­ris wins, the leg­is­la­ture will be in a 43-43 tie, with Speaker Dar­ryl Ple­cas hold­ing the de­cid­ing vote.

The seat is open be­cause Leonard Krog suc­cess­fully ran for mayor of Nanaimo in Oc­to­ber and re­signed his seat as MLA for Nanaimo.

Mal­colm­son was the fed­eral NDP MP for Nanaimo-Lady­smith and has re­signed from her seat in the House of Com­mons.

A date has not been an­nounced for a by­elec­tion for the fed­eral seat.

Mean­while, the Greater Nanaimo Cham­ber of Com­merce is stag­ing an all­can­di­dates forum on Jan. 24. It will be held at the Be­ban Park So­cial Cen­tre au­di­to­rium.

A can­di­date meet-and-greet will start at 6 p.m. A for­mal de­bate be­gins at 7:30 p.m. Ques­tions for can­di­dates can be sub­mit­ted to [email protected]­

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