Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a by-election for a British Columbia riding previously held by a New Democrat MP, ahead of a general election scheduled for October.
The Prime Minister’s Office announced May 6 as the date for voters to elect a new MP in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, which was held by former New Democrat MP Sheila Malcolmson. Ms. Malcolmson said she was leaving federal politics to seek a seat in the B.C. Legislature in October and resigned her seat on Jan. 2. She had represented the riding since 2015 and won with 33 per cent of the vote.
Ms. Malcolmson is one of several New Democrats who decided against running in the coming federal election. That list includes B.C. MPs Murray Rankin, Fin Donnelly and Kennedy Stewart, who left federal politics to run successfully for mayor of Vancouver. Ontario NDP MPs Irene Mathyssen and David Christopherson are not seeking re-election and neither are Quebec MPs Hélène Laverdière, Romeo Saganash, Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet and Anne Minh-Thu Quach, and Alberta MP Linda Duncan.
The Liberals and Conservatives both named candidates for the riding, but the NDP have yet to nominate someone. Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis Chief Bob Chamberlin, a long-time chief councillor and prominent Indigenous leader, said he is seeking the NDP nomination for the riding. Mr. Chamberlin is a vice-president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs who has been a strong opponent of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and an advocate of safeguarding wild salmon.
Mr. Chamberlin said in a statement last week that he wants to help the New Democrats “get better results” than the Liberals on a handful of key issues including health care, affordable housing and find ways to protect the country’s coast with green technology and grow the economy in the riding.
“These are the issues people in this riding care about – building more affordable homes, being able to pay for the prescription drugs you need, having child care you can access and afford,” he said.
The Liberal Party said it had nominated Michelle Corfield, a volunteer and local businesswoman, as its candidate for the riding. According to the party, Ms. Corfield grew up in Nanaimo and has served as chair of the Nanaimo Port Authority, and chair of the legislative council of the Ucluelet First Nation.
The Conservative Party has nominated John Hirst, a manager at Sun Life Financial, as its candidate for Nanaimo-Ladysmith. Mr. Hirst defeated Jennifer Clarke in a nomination contest in November and Ms. Clarke went on to become a candidate for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party.