THE B.C. Liberals on Wednesday announced that Tony Harris, a prominent sixth generation Nanaimo resident and local businessman will be the party’s candidate for the upcoming provincial by-election in Nanaimo.
New Democrat MLA Leonard Krog was elected Mayor of Nanaimo last month.
“I’m passionate about our city and I’m so excited about the opportunity to give back by representing our community in the Legislature,” said Harris. “I’m someone who gets excited about what we can do to make Nanaimo a better place. For years Nanaimo has voted for the same party, and we’ve never gotten the attention we deserve. Now is our opportunity to think big, be bold, and get things done for our great community.”
The party said that Tony stands for creating opportunity and delivering on priorities that ensure help is there for those who need it. Tony embodies the BC Liberals’ message and vision to create opportunity for all of BC. At his announcement, he spoke passionately about being a husband, a father and about his love of the community where he was born, raised and then chose to live, work and raise his own family with his wife and two kids (with one more on the way). He believes this by-election offers Nanaimo a chance to demand more from the upper levels of government.
“Nanaimo has a chance to send a message to Victoria that it’s time to stop taking Nanaimo for granted,” said Harris. “The province needs to take action now on building the right health care infrastructure, better transportation options, and investing in one of the fastest growing communities in the province.”
During his speech to a full house at local business Wenner Group, Tony highlighted some of his specific ideas that require immediate action: the need for a new Intensive Care Unit at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, a local cancer centre so residents don’t have to travel to Victoria for radiation treatment, a foot passenger ferry to Vancouver; and the cancellation of the ill-thought out speculation tax that isn’t helping to address affordable housing but instead is slowing development and putting Nanaimo’s local economy at risk.
“The BC Liberals are thrilled that Tony Harris has stepped up on behalf of the people of Nanaimo and joined the team,” said BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson. “Nanaimo residents have a clear choice in a candidate who is looking toward the future, has deep roots in the community and the know-how to effect positive change.”
Harris said he also wants to bring a more collaborative approach to politics and is more interested in finding common ground and solutions than using politics to create barriers between people. He is committed to working with all levels of government, community leaders and residents to address issues that are important to Nanaimo and those that are near and dear to him such as addressing child poverty and homelessness.
Harris said that he will run a positive campaign.