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A high profile Indigenous leader in British Columbia intends to seek the 2019 NDP candidacy in the federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

Bob Chamberlin is the long-serving chief counsellor of a First Nation based on Gilford Island in the Broughton Archipelago off northeastern Vancouver Island and is also serving his third, three-year term as vice president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

In a news release announcing his bid for the nomination, Chamberlin says he has spent much of his life in the Nanaimo area and understands issues important to the riding such as affordable housing and child care, and a workable pharmacare system covering prescription drugs.

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Nanaimo-Ladysmith is currently vacant after former New Democrat member of Parliament Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January to run successfully for the provincial New Democrats in a by-election.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not announced a federal by-election in the Vancouver Island riding, but Elections Canada said in January that it must be called no later than July 6.

The Conservative Party of Canada selected its candidate, 32-year-old financial manager John Hirst, last November and Jennifer Clarke, who lost the nomination to Hirst, was named in January to represent the new People’s Party of Canada, led by Quebec MP Maxime Bernier.

Chamberlin says in his roles leading the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation and as vice president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, he has worked with Liberal and Conservative governments, served as chair of several agencies and boards, and advocated on a range of issues.

“We can get better results for Canadians from coast to coast to coast, but it’s not going to happen under a Trudeau government that continually overlooks the practical needs of Canadians just looking to get by and needing to make their lives more affordable,” Chamberlin says in the release.

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