Party leaders join the fray in provincial battle for Nanaimo
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]ber.bc.ca.