NDP wins key provincial byelection in Nanaimo

NDP wins key provincial byelection in Nanaimo

WATCH: Sheila Malcolmson, the new MLA-elect for Nanaimo, gives her victory speech on Wednesday night in Nanaimo.  

The B.C. New Democrats have won a crucial provincial byelection in Nanaimo that allows Premier John Horgan’s minority government to keep its grip on power.

With Wednesday’s win, the NDP has 41 seats in the legislature but holds power with the support of three Green party members in the house.

WATCH: CHEK News projects the Nanaimo byelection for BC NDP’s Sheila Malcolmson. 

The Liberals have 42 seats and there is one Independent, Darryl Plecas, who serves as legislature Speaker.

With all 111 ballot boxes, NDP Sheila Malcolmson had more than 1,800 votes over B.C. Liberal Tony Harris. She had 49.22 per cent of the votes cast in the six-candidate field, while Harris had almost 40.47 per cent.

Nanaimo traditionally votes NDP, but Harris has deep family roots in the Vancouver Island city and campaigned to bring economic development and infrastructure to the often neglected community.

Malcolmson resigned her seat in the House of Commons to run in the byelection, saying she wants to ensure the policies of the former B.C. Liberal government do not return because they increased homelessness and the cost of housing in the city.

In a statement, Premier John Horgan said: “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,” he added.

Green candidate Michele Ney, the daughter of longtime Nanaimo mayor Frank Ney, campaigned on making the city a clean economy powerhouse.

Ney was drawing just over seven per cent of the vote in the early going, below the almost 20 per cent the party received in the last provincial election.

“While disappointing, tonight’s results were not unexpected, given the conversations we have had with Green voters over the past few weeks”, said Green party leader Andrew Weaver in a release.

“I can say with absolute certainty that our support exceeds the votes cast for the party today.”

The byelection was called when New Democrat Leonard Krog resigned last year after he was elected the city’s mayor.

There are 45,359 voters in the Nanaimo riding and Elections BC says 9,322 voters turned out at the advanced polls.

Malcolmson said she will work with the party to build affordable housing, expand childcare and improve the environment and health care.

With files from The Canadian Press


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