The status quo has been retained in the B.C. Legislature.
NDP candidate Sheila Malcolmson was elected MLA in a Nanaimo byelection Wednesday, which was called after NDP MLA Leonard Krog stepped down to become Nanaimo mayor.
Malcolmson garnered 10,538 votes (49.22 per cent of the vote) while Liberal candidate Tony Harris captured 8,665 votes (40.47 per cent). Green Party candidate Michele Ney was a distant third with 1,579 votes. Conservative Justin Greenwood received 442 votes, Vancouver Island Party candidate Robin Mark Richardson got 100 votes, and Libertarian candidate Bill Walker received 86 votes.
The election win leaves the NDP with 40 seats in the legislature which, combined with the three Green Party MLAs, is enough for a slim majority over the Liberals’ 42 seats. Speaker Darryl Plecas sits as an independent.
“I look forward to working with John Horgan and his team and continuing our government’s work of making life better for the people of Nanaimo and across B.C.,” Malcolmson posted on her Facebook page after the win.
“Congratulations to Sheila Malcolmson on her election as the new MLA for Nanaimo,” said Premier John Horgan in a statement. “I know she will work hard for the people of Nanaimo and she will bring passion and integrity to the Legislature. I want to thank the people of Nanaimo for a vote of confidence in our work to make life more affordable for British Columbians, to improve the services people count on, and to generate the jobs of the future in a healthy, sustainable environment. I also want to thank all of the candidates and volunteers who put in much time and energy into this important by-election.”
B.C. Green candidate Michele Ney and party leader Andrew Weaver were obviously disappointed with the results.
“I’d like to congratulate MLA-elect Sheila Malcolmson,” Ney said. “I’m proud of the campaign that we ran in Nanaimo; it was principled and visionary. I am confident that tonight’s results speak to voters’ desire to see the government continue in partnership with the BC Greens. Our caucus has been instrumental to the work of the government, and I am glad that Andrew, Sonia and Adam will head back to the legislature knowing that British Columbians can continue to benefit from their hard work.”
“While disappointing, tonight’s results were not unexpected, given the conversations we have had with Green voters over the past few weeks,” Weaver said. “I can say with absolute certainty that our support exceeds the votes cast for the party today. I spent a lot of time in Nanaimo campaigning with Michele, and many members, donors and supporters of our party came up to us saying that while they continued to support our party, they felt they needed to vote for the NDP in this by-election so that the government and our agreement with them can continue. I look forward to welcoming Sheila to the B.C. legislature in the coming weeks and working with her on behalf of British Columbians. Finally, I would like to extend my greatest thanks to Michele and her team for an incredible campaign. They worked so very hard and I believe that hard work will pay off the next time B.C. heads to the polls.”
Liberal leader Andew Wilkinson has not yet issued a statement on the byelection. However, he is expected to make an announcement later today.