2019 Federal Election: Seven in race for Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding


The federal election may feel like deja-vu for people in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding.

Voters cast their ballot in a byelection four months ago, which led to a second Green Party MP in Parliament.

Despite capturing 37 per cent of the vote in the recent byelection, Green candidate and incumbent Paul Manly is not resting on the result.

“That’s a really good sign but I’m not taking anything for granted,” said Manly.

“I’ve been working really hard since I’ve been elected and I’m going to work really hard to get reelected.”

May 6 was a historic night in the riding when voters elected Manly as just the second Green candidate to go to Ottawa. The first was leader Elizabeth May.

But all the byelection candidates are running again and the Conservative and NDP candidates both say byelections are very different from general elections.

As a result, they say there could be a much different outcome.

“Not only is the entire country going to the polls instead of just us but for our party, we now have the platform and we have an environmental platform,” said John Hirst, the Conservative candidate who came second in the byelection with 25 percent of the vote.

“We have a lot of great things to offer the community and I really think that’s going to give us a leg up.”

“When we look at the numbers that came out in the byelection, there were 30,000 less voters than the last federal general election so I think that every party is going to be focussed on that,” said Bob Chamberlin, the NDP candidate who placed third in the byelection with 23 percent of the vote.

But a political scientist believes Manly is likely to hold the riding again.

“He’s a known candidate. His father obviously has credentials in that area and he’s a known person. He wasn’t parachuted in and I think he’s got momentum,” said Michael Prince of the University of Victoria.

But Prince says what happens nationally could be a game-changer.

“The only way he could run into trouble is, I think if Elizabeth May’s national campaign goes south and she runs into trouble and we see a dynamic between the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, and Elizabeth May and the Greens. That’s going to a story throughout the entire island, Greens versus NDP, that centre-left eco-vote.”

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding will be among those closely watched during the lead up to election night October 21. The other four candidates are Michelle Corfield for the Liberal Party, Jennifer Clarke for the People’s Party of Canada, James Chumsa for the Communist Party of Canada and Brian Marlatt from the Progressive Canadian Party.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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