Voters are heading to the polls to elect a member of Parliament in the riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith today in what could be an indicator of the October federal election.
The leaders of the Liberals, Conservatives, Greens, NDP and the People’s Party of Canada have all visited the riding since the byelection was called.
David Black, a political communications expert at Royal Roads University in Victoria, says that highlights the importance of the vote so close to a federal election.
He says the parties would have used the byelection as a study for political messaging before the Oct. 21 general election.
New Democrat Sheila Malcolmson resigned the seat in January to successfully run for the B-C New Democrats in the provincial riding.
There was a 75 per cent turnout when she won the federal riding in 2015, and Black says such a high return can lead to a less predictable race.
Malcolmson won with 33 per cent of the vote, while the Liberal and Conservative candidates both received over 23 per cent support and the Green candidate took almost 20 per cent of votes.
There are seven candidates running in the byelection: New Democrat Bob Chamberlin, Jennifer Clarke of the People’s Party of Canada, Liberal Michelle Corfield, Conservative John Hirst, Jakob Letkemann of the National Citizens Alliance, Green Paul Manly and Brian Marlatt of the Progressive Canadian Party.