With climate change high on his list of priorities Green Party Candidate Paul Manley joined a march for forestry reform in Nanaimo Saturday.

“Well, we need to protect the last little remnants of old growth forests that are left here on Vancouver Island,” said Manly. “We’ve been clear-cutting old growth here decade after decade.”

Paul Manly ran unsuccessfully in the 2015 federal election and he says he’s giving it another shot because the Green Party is the only party serious about climate change.

“Well, I’m giving it another run because I’m not seeing the mainline political parties, the big three parties addressing the climate crisis properly, they all support fracking and LNG exports,” added Manly.

Green Party Leader and only sitting Green Party MP Elizabeth May is campaigning with Manly this weekend.

She says unlike in a general election, voters in this by-election have a chance to vote for who they want and not necessarily strategically.

“It’s really a free opportunity for people to get to vote for who they want for a change. The only thing that will change politics in Canada is electing Paul Manly in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, all the other votes are essentially status-quo,” said May.

“The government doesn’t change based on the byelection here, Trudeau will be the Prime Minister the day before the by-election and Trudeau will be the Prime Minister the day after the by-election so it gives voters in Nanaimo-Ladysmith the chance to really send a message, kind of a shot across the bow of the old line parties that are ignoring the climate crisis.”

Less than 10,000 votes separated the NDP’s Sheila Malcolmson who won the election in 2015 and Manly who finished 4th. It was one of the closest races in Canada and saw the Greens triple their vote in the riding over the previous general election.

“I had a lot of people who told me they wanted to vote for me and they were worried about electing a Conservative in Stephen Harper and people don’t need to worry about that this time around, this is a by-election and there is none of that talk about strategic voting,” said Manly.

“People can vote for what they want to vote for, a representative that’s going to stand up for them, somebody that’s going to stand up on climate change issues.”

There has been no indication if Prime Minister Trudeau or Conservative leader Andrew Sheer will also campaign with local candidates.

Dean Stoltz