From left to right: Bob Chamberlin, Paul Manly, John Hirst, Michelle Corfield (Black Press file photo)

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates Q&A

Ladysmith will hold an all candidates debated on October 2 at the Eagles Hall, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Ladysmith will hold an all candidates debated on October 2 at the Eagles Hall. The debate is hosted by the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, and will give residents an opportunity to see candidates on stage together before going to the polls.

The Chronicle sent a questionaire to each of the candidates asking them a few simple questions to familiarize voters with the candidates.

Bob Chamberlin – New Democratic Party

What is your background? Both in terms of work, and life experience.

I grew up in Harewood in Nanaimo, raised my son there, and live downtown. I love this beautiful community.

I had the privilege of being elected Chief Councillor for the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation on northern Vancouver Island for 14 years where I worked on improving housing, health care access, and water treatment. I’ve served as vice-president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs for three terms. I’ve presented at National Energy Board hearings and to Senate committees on many issues -– environmental assessments, drinking water, the effects of climate change on food security – and in opposition to projects like Enbridge and Kinder Morgan.

Protecting salmon has been my greatest passion. I was lead negotiator for the first jointly developed government-to-government framework for shared decision-making to transition fish farms out of the Broughton Archipelago. The provincial government has now enacted the plan and half a million farmed fish will be removed from wild salmon migration routes, helping save this vital food source and contribute to the health of our oceans and streams. This is the first ever process in Canada that employs the principles of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in its formation, putting the good intentions of reconciliation to work, not just talking about it.

Why are you running to be Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s MP?

People here work hard and deserve a good life with good jobs in a safe and healthy environment. Under Justin Trudeau that has all gotten harder. People here need someone who gets results and stands up for them. I understand the challenges people are facing. The NDP is committed to building new affordable housing, to bringing in pharamcare and dental care for everyone, and to take action now to cut climate pollution and create good jobs in a clean economy.

What are your priorities for the riding and how will you work for the constituents in parliament?

I raised my son as a single dad so I understand the struggle to pay the bills, cover housing, and provide healthy food. We’re paying too much for housing and healthcare. The NDP will bring 1,500 affordable, energy efficient homes to Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

I’ve heard from pensioners, families, and young people that they haven’t filled prescriptions because they can’t afford them. We’re fighting for expanded pharmacare so people don’t have to pay out of pocket for medications and for dental coverage. Not only will this help workers without extended health plans, businesses will save money because they won’t have to pay for it.

Our cellphone fees are among the world’s highest and that’s unacceptable. Cellphones are vital to our way of life whether it’s to communicate with family or for business purposes. I’m proud of the NDP plan to introduce a price cap on cellphone plans.

I have experience working with all levels of government. I know how to bring people to the table to make change happen. As I’ve been knocking on doors, people are telling me they’re fed up with broken promises and a lack of action around affordability and climate change. As a First Nations leader I have delivered real action on fish farms, fighting pipelines, and standing up for our coast. No other candidate in this election can say that.

How have things changed since the by-election, and what do voters need to know before heading to the polls for a second time?

We knew whoever got elected in the by-election would only be in office for five months – and because of that less than half of the people here bothered voting. Now a full term is at stake and people are deciding what direction they want Canada to go in. We can make an investment in good jobs that help put the breaks on climate change, make a commitment to the health of all people with a healthcare system that supports that, and stand up for Indigenous rights. I’m someone with the leadership experience and success rate that can help make these things happen.

Michelle Corfield – Liberal Party

What is your background? Both in terms of work, and life experience.

Dr. Michelle Corfield is the former Chair of the Port of Nanaimo. Michelle founded Corfield & Associates in 2006 to provide consulting and project management services to First Nations, individuals, and organizations. She has also served as the Chair of the Legislative Council of the Ucluelet First Nation for 8 years, the first multi-nation that is implementing a modern treaty. Michelle is the co-founder and Executive in Residence for a Master of Business program at Simon Fraser University with a specialized focus on Indigenous Business and Leadership. She is also the Marine Training Advisor for Camosun College.

Michelle has served on the boards for more than a dozen organizations and societies including serving 6 years on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC. In addition to the professional experience that Michelle brings to her consultancy, she holds a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership Management, a Masters of Conflict Analysis and Management, and a Bachelor of Arts in First Nations Studies.

Why are you running to be Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s MP?

I am running to be the Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP because I believe we need to have an MP that has a seat at the table. For too long, this riding has not had a strong advocate for this region with the government in power and we have seen these results in the minimal services and infrastructure investments for decades now. I have worked my entire life to bring me to a place where I believe I am ready to serve the constituents to make Nanaimo-Ladysmith a priority. My work, board, and educational experience have provided me with a deep understanding of the legislative framework our county is founded on.

What are your priorities for the riding and how will you work for the constituents in parliament?

My priorities are the priorities identified by the constituents of this riding, National Pharmacare, Climate Change, Housing Affordability, and advancing Youth and Senior Initiatives while working to grow our economy based on good regional jobs.

How have things changed since the by-election, and what do voters need to know before heading to the polls for a second time?

Things that have changed are the Liberal government has implemented over 90% of the 2015 platform higher than any other governing body. That Canadians now know this government has worked hard to keep Canadians moving forward.

John Hirst – Conservative Party of Canada

What is your background? Both in terms of work, and life experience.

For years I have been giving back to my community through groups like the Gyro Club and the Young Professionals of Nanaimo. Being born and raised in Nanaimo I have always loved this community and it’s the city I will raise my own children in.

After graduating from high school in Nanaimo I spent several years working in Alberta because of the lack of opportunity on the mid-island. We don’t have enough well-paying jobs where a young person can work hard to get ahead. I saved my money and paid my way through business school after which I started with a Financial Services company for whom I now manage the North Island.

An important part of my life was in October 2017 when we lost my father to suicide. For years he struggled with addictions and mental health. As a family we decided to be as open as possible about this because it still carries a stigma. I am extremely passionate about mental health and addictions because of my father.

If you or someone you know is in need of help you can always reach out to these resources:

Vancouver Island Crisis Line

1-888-494-3888 (call)

250-800-3806 (text line from 6-10pm, 7 days a week)

Why are you running to be Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s MP?

As a local born and raised I have been frustrated with the representation we have had in Ottawa and the lack of results they have delivered for our community. For too long we have sent MPs from 3rd or 4th place parties who stare at government from across the aisle. The issues we face as a community like crime, affordability, and addictions require an MP who will advocate for us in government. I intend to be that MP for the mid-island.

What are your priorities for the riding and how will you work for the constituents in parliament?

The issues I hear from people at the door are the same from all over the riding: affordability, crime and the healthcare in the mid-island. Many people are struggling to get by and can’t afford more taxes like the other parties are promising. I feel strongly that Universal Tax Cut and other measures our party is introducing will help keep more money in your pocket. Crime has been an issue that I have heard across the riding and needs to be addressed and we are the only party doing so. Healthcare is an urgent issue on the mid-island. We have a population that is bigger and older than that south of the Malahat and lack many of the services offered there. We need a tertiary hospital in Nanaimo; this means better service for cardiac care, better cancer care, pediatric mental health services and more emergency mental health services. By providing more emergency mental health services for the community we could have an immediate and significant impact on those suffering in our community.

How have things changed since the by-election, and what do voters need to know before heading to the polls for a second time?

The by-election results have been encouraging; defeating the NDP in what they considered a safe riding for them. The experience we gained as a team has allowed us to re-organize and better prepare for the general election. We never slowed down either: all summer we have been out knocking on doors, talking to voters, meeting with community groups and hearing the concerns and issues from across the riding. The same concerns keep being shared with me: affordability, crime, healthcare and the environment. We have a plan to deliver real results and make a real positive difference in the lives of people living in Nanaimo-Ladysmith. You can check it out on our website at

Paul Manly – Green Party

What is your background? Both in terms of work, and life experience.

Prior to entering federal politics I was a small business owner and worked extensively in film and television. My films on community watershed protection, international trade deals, food security, First Nations language revitalization, and health care, have raised public awareness and influenced government policy. I also coordinated employment skills training programs at Nanaimo Foodshare for youth at risk and people with diverse abilities. On May 6th 2019 I became the second elected Green MP in Canada. Since then I’ve been working hard for our communities, and demonstrating my commitment to set a new standard of transparency, accountability and accessibility for a local MP.

Why are you running to be Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s MP?

I am seeking re-election because my work for you has only just begun. Our communities are suffering the impacts of the housing crisis and the opioid crisis, and those issues urgently need to be addressed. But the number one threat to a secure livable future for our children and grandchildren is the climate crisis. I have a long track record of working on environmental issues. Canada’s old line political parties are dragging their feet and refusing to address the climate crisis with the urgency, and bold action it calls for. In this fight for the future we need Greens on the front line.

What are your priorities for the riding and how will you work for the constituents in parliament?

Over the past eight months I’ve been talking to residents, community organizations and local leaders. From these conversations I know that the top local issues in our riding all stem from the slow dismantling of the “social contract” between the federal government and Canadian citizens – particularly the government’s obligations when it comes to health care and housing. That’s why the Green Party is calling for a renewal of our social contract. One that reflects the reality and urgency of our needs – for affordable housing, mental health care, and universal pharmacare. And increasing the health and stability of our communities also means creating opportunities for careers in the renewable energy economy right here in our riding. I will follow the example set by Elizabeth May and work collaboratively across party lines to find resources and solutions for our communities.

How have things changed since the by-election, and what do voters need to know before heading to the polls for a second time?

When voters in Nanaimo-Ladysmith sent me to Ottawa it changed the national conversation around the climate crisis. The day after the by-election the Prime Minister said that the results in Nanaimo-Ladysmith showed that Canadians are “preoccupied with climate change.” Two weeks later the NDP and the Liberals put forward motions to declare a climate emergency. That’s good, because we’re in an “all hands on deck” situation. During my time in the House of Commons I voted 56 times on motions, amendments and bills. Those 56 votes included instances of me voting with every one of the official parties, because good motions, good amendments, and good bills, should be supported no matter who proposes them. I don’t engage in hyper partisan bickering because we have very serious problems to solve, and the only way we can do that is by working together. I made a promise to be an open and accountable representative. During my time in Ottawa I published weekly reports on my website, detailing who I met with, the issues that were discussed, the statements I made in the House of Commons and the important votes I took. This summer I hosted ten non-partisan community meetings throughout our riding, where I reported back to the community on my work in Ottawa, then opened the floor for anyone to ask a question, make a suggestion or bring up any issue. I will continue to publish weekly reports from Ottawa and host two rounds of community meetings every year for as long as I am your MP.

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