Voters are beginning to cast ballots in Nanaimo in a byelection that puts the NDP minority government to the test.
Polls opened at 8 a.m. and you can see results and reaction in special byelection coverage live on CHEK Wednesday night starting at 8 p.m., hosted by Ben O’Hara-Byrne.
The NDP has won the Nanaimo seat in 13 of the last 15 provincial elections.
But this byelection is shaping up to be a tight race that could leave B.C.’s legislature deadlocked and Premier John Horgan’s minority New Democrat government on shaky ground.
A Liberal win would draw the party even with the NDP-Green Party alliance with 43 seats and could prompt an early provincial election.
A Mainstreet Research poll Monday showed the Liberals with the lead in Nanaimo.
All three main party leaders will be in Nanaimo Wednesday.
Former New Democrat MP Sheila Malcolmson resigned her Nanaimo-Ladysmith federal seat last year to run in the provincial byelection, saying she wants to ensure the policies of the former B.C. Liberal government do not return.
But Liberal candidate Tony Harris has deep family roots in the city and has been campaigning to bring economic development and infrastructure to the often neglected Vancouver Island community.
Green candidate Michelle Ney, the daughter of longtime Nanaimo mayor Frank Ney, says she wants to help the city become a clean economy powerhouse.
BC Conservative Candidate Justin Greenwood said his party should appeal to voters who are worried about their pocketbooks, campaigning to scrap the carbon tax and reforming ICBC.
Libertarian Bill Walker has lived and worked in Nanaimo for 25 years and says it’s time for less government and lower taxes.
Former Ontario conservative MP Robin Richardson founded the Vancouver Island party in 2016 and is running to secure the Island’s independence, saying a Vancouver Island province would start off debt free and balance the budget.
The byelection was called when New Democrat Leonard Krog resigned last year after he was elected the city’s mayor.
With files from the Canadian Press.