Nanaimo-Ladysmith will elect a new member of Parliament today, May 6. NEWS BULLETIN photo

Polls open for Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection

Central Vancouver Island riding has been without representation since January

One last byelection in B.C. will happen before the fall’s general federal election.

The polls opened to voters at 8:30 a.m. on Monday in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, and will stay open until 8:30 p.m.

Candidatesinclude Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; John Hirst, Conservatives; Paul Manly, Green Party; and Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party. Jakob Letkemann is on the ballot but the National Citizens Alliance has announced that he no longer represents that party.

The Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding became vacant when Sheila Malcolmson resigned to successfully run for Nanaimo MLA.

EDITORIAL: Nanaimo-Ladysmith has the attention of all parties, so go vote

RELATED: Parties make their last push before Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection

At an all-candidates’ meeting last week, the six candidates attempted to distinguish themselves and their parties and make an appeal to voters.

Chamberlin said through his work as vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, he’s a known quantity in Ottawa and the best-positioned candidate to be able to get things done in a short stint in Parliament. He talked about affordable housing, pharmacare, childcare and a clean alternative energy plan.

“The NDP are committed to developing and implementing that and seeing good-paying jobs come about as we develop that infrastructure and make the switch from the carbon-burning fuels that we’ve become too accustomed to,” he said. “The Earth cannot tolerate it anymore.”

Corfield said Nanaimo-Ladysmith needs to create meaningful employment for graduates. She said there needs to be continued investment in transportation and infrastructure and said that’s happening now with the Liberals. She highlighted the government’s oceans protection plan and national housing strategy, initiatives for seniors, and the work being done toward pharmacare.

“We need to be able to have someone in government so we can advocate for what Nanaimo needs most,” Corfield said.

Manly said Canada needs a government that will take responsibility for the climate crisis rather than ask consumers to change their behaviour, and one that will stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry.

He said electing the NDP, Liberals or Conservatives will mean an MP who will toe the party line from the backbenches.

“If you elect me, we are going to fire up this country and we are going to get some things done because they are going to notice that people in Nanaimo-Ladysmith care about climate change, you care about the next generation, you care about the future,” Manly said. “It’s important what we do here.”

Hirst said his party can offer effective government and as MP he would be able to help the lives of constituents. Hirst said the NDP has shown a lack of results for the riding, the Green platform is based on emotion, and the Liberals will increase taxes and debt.

“If the latest polls are to be believed, we will have a Conservative government this fall and if I’m elected as your MP, I will deliver results,” he said. “We will have a voice at the table to help form federal policy before the fall.”

Clarke said her party wants to stop irresponsible and wasteful spending, curb divisive “identity politics” and put an end to corporate welfare.

“There has been a steady erosion of our core values by our own government,” she said. “Our country has never been as divided as it is right now, both culturally and economically.”

Marlatt said his party would work for the betterment of all Canadians equally, rather than appeal to what he called the politics of regionalism and movements.

“The Progressive Canadian Party is a party of progressive conservatives, or Tories who look to the principles of Sir John A. Macdonald and the progressive conservative balance of progressive social policy, fiscal responsibility and political economy and of nation building,” Marlatt said.

For links to previous byelection coverage in the Nanaimo News Bulletin, click here.

For information about Nanaimo-Ladysmith federal riding boundaries, click here.

To read about the candidates’ priorities in their own words, click here.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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