Campaigning underway as candidates set for Nanaimo byelection


WATCH: B.C.’s premier has not called the byelection in Nanaimo that will impact the balance of power in Victoria, but the campaigning is well underway. This past weekend, the BC Green Party chose their candidate and the NDP acclaimed theirs. Two of the candidates have already been door knocking and all the parties say they will be focusing their efforts on winning this crucial seat. Kendall Hanson reports.

B.C.’s Housing Minister was in Nanaimo Monday to announce plans to build more homes in the city.

“We’re announcing a new partnership with the city of Nanaimo and School District 68 to complete a comprehensive land use planning and development project right here,” said Selina Robinson, BC’s Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister.

The development will include affordable rental housing and a new location for the school district’s alternative program.

Nanaimo’s former NDP MLA said Monday’s announcement has no connection to the coming byelection.

“There has been a lot of provincial money flow into Nanaimo around housing in particular in the last year-and-a-half because we elected a new government who promised to do that,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog.

Current Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson was acclaimed by the provincial NDP as their candidate Sunday.

“We can’t be complacent at all about the support the NDP’s had here in Nanaimo,” said Malcolmson. “I know from door knocking that Leonard Krog support is pan-partisan. He’s so well regarded. So even just yesterday we’ve got dozens of people out knocking on doors.”

On Saturday, the BC Green Party chose Michelle Ney to run in the riding. The retired teacher is also the daughter of former Nanaimo mayor Frank Ney.

“The Green B.C. plan. That was Andrew Weaver and the team that was insistent. That was one of the things that they wanted to bring forward so, in my opinion, the Greens are very important,” said Ney. “Bringing one more member down is just another set of elbows to get in there and make the change that we direly need.”

The BC Liberal candidate says he knows he has an uphill battle to win the riding but he’s excited by the possibility.

“Nanaimo has the opportunity to really come into focus for the whole province and for the parties in Victoria and frankly in Ottawa too,” said Tony Harris, the BC Liberal candidate. “Everybody all of a sudden is thinking about Nanaimo and that’s really really good for us so what this campaign needs to be about focussing on the issues in Nanaimo. The ways that we can improve our city over the next 10, 20, 30 years.”

Candidates say housing, environment, payroll taxes, and transportation will be the top issues of debate until Nanaimo voters go to the polls.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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