WITH all 111 ballot boxes reporting, NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson with 10,538 votes (49%) defeated BC Liberal candidate Tony Harris who garnered 8,665 votes (40%) in Wednesday’s by-election in Nanaimo. The Green Party’s Michele Ney was a distant third with merely 1,579 votes (7%).
Premier John Horgan, who was at The VOICE for an interview, told us on Tuesday: “I am optimistic obviously,” when asked if the NDP would be able to hold on to Nanaimo. (The extensive interview will be in Saturday’s Indo-Canadian Voice).
He pointed out: “It’s a constituency that we have held for a long, long time. Leonard Krog was a very popular MLA. He ran for Mayor and got 75 per cent of the vote. Then he left provincial politics because his community literally begged him to come – Liberals, Conservatives – because the City Council was in such disarray.
“And so it was a difficult decision for Leonard to make. His entire adult life had been focussed on forming an NDP government – he’s a lawyer, an accomplished lawyer – then he invested himself in public life because he felt so passionately about the NDP.”
Horgan added: “So he’s working overtime as am I and all of the people in Nanaimo to elect Sheila Malcolmson, the former MP, very well known, very capable. So I am optimistic that we will have a good result tomorrow [Wednesday], but the voters are always right and we’ll see what they have to say.”
On Wednesday night, Horgan said in a statement: “Congratulations to Sheila Malcolmson on her election as the new MLA for Nanaimo. I know she will work hard for the people of Nanaimo and she will bring passion and integrity to the Legislature.
“I very much look forward to working with Sheila as our government continues its work to make life better for people in BC.
“I want to thank the people of Nanaimo for a vote of confidence in our work to make life more affordable for British Columbians, to improve the services people count on, and to generate the jobs of the future in a healthy, sustainable environment.
“I also want to thank all of the candidates and volunteers who put in much time and energy into this important by-election.”
Malcolmson said in a statement: “Tonight, voters in the Nanaimo by-election made a clear choice: they decided to keep building a better BC.
“I am so looking forward to working with John Horgan and his team and continuing our government’s work of making life better for people.
“I want to thank the people of Nanaimo for a vote of confidence. Not just in me, but in the BC NDP’s work making life more affordable for British Columbians, improving the services people count on, and generating the jobs of the future in a healthy, sustainable environment.
“I also want to thank all of the candidates and volunteers who put so much time and energy into this important by-election. I am humbled by the support we received here in Nanaimo and from New Democrats around the province.
“Tonight, we celebrate – and tomorrow, the real work continues: building a better BC.”
Starting in 2002, Malcolmson was elected to the Islands Trust for four consecutive terms. In 2008, she was elected Chair of the Islands Trust Council. In 2015 she was elected as MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
As Chair of Islands Trust Council she worked with all levels of government, championing campaigns for fair ferry service, marine safety and oil spill prevention. She signed a government-to-government protocol between the Snuneymuxw First Nation and the Islands Trust – establishing a relationship of respect and cooperation in planning, land use management and heritage conservation.
Prior to her election, Sheila was an energy policy analyst for non-governmental organizations. She also worked in small business and tourism on Vancouver Island.
Sheila lives on Gabriola Island with her partner Howard, a fisheries biologist and climate change researcher.