Voters in Nanaimo will be going to the polls this month.
B.C. Premier John Horgan announced this morning that a byelection for the Nanaimo riding will take place on Jan. 30, according to a press release issued by the provincial government.
The Nanaimo riding was recently vacated by Leonord Krog, who became the city’s mayor this past fall. Local businessman Tony Harris is running for the B.C. Liberals while Sheila Malcolmson, former Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP, will be running for the B.C. NDP. Retired teacher Michele Ney will be running for the B.C. Green Party.
All three candidates said they’re excited for the official start to the campaign. Malcolmson was out putting up signs today and she said her team has been working hard to be ready.
“The place is buzzing with volunteers; we’ve been canvassing for at least a month already knocking on doors and hearing what people’s priorities are in our neighbourhoods,” she said.
Harris said his team has been “basically in full campaign” mode since he was announced as his party’s intended candidate.
“We are ready to go, to hit the ground running. We are looking forward to the next 28 days,” he said.
Ney said she’s been “honoured and flattered” with the support she’s felt from B.C. Greens since she won the party’s nomination last month.
“It’s wonderful and exciting to feel like I really have a strong team behind me to help me move forward and really, truly make a difference for Nanaimo…” she said. “We’re off to a great start.”
The News Bulletin asked candidates about the magnitude of the bylection in a thin minority government. Ney said she doesn’t view the byelection as carrying a great weight but rather an opportunity for Nanaimo and its constituents.
“We’re hungry to win this riding so that we can put a stamp on Nanaimo that is Green so that our voice for Nanaimo will be truly heard. I feel like it’s been neglected for too long,” she said.
Harris, too, said he understands the importance of the byelection and what it means to the province, “but that ultimately is a distraction for the people of Nanaimo who have an opportunity to talk about our community and turn over a new leaf and head in an exciting and aspirational direction.”
Malcolmson said with the leadership in place at Nanaimo city hall, Snuneymuxw First Nation at the provincial level, “we have this alignment of unprecedented opportunity.”
“I really want to see this progressive, co-operative, people-oriented government keep going and Nanaimo’s the key to that,” she said.
Advance voting takes place Jan. 22-27.
For additional information on the byelection, including voting information, please visit www.elections.bc.ca/nan-byelection.
More to come.