The B.C. Liberal Party leader was in the Harbour City on Saturday, backing his Nanaimo byelection candidate and spurring on some 100 supporters and volunteers preparing to canvass.
Andrew Wilkinson was at Tony Harris’s Victoria Crescent campaign office Saturday and with governing parties historically faring poorly in byelections, the provincial opposition leader said voting day on Jan. 30 is of added importance.
“We’re in this spot here in Nanaimo where the town is growing and doing well and people are thinking it’s a different place from what it was a few years ago,” Wilkinson told the News Bulletin. “Tony Harris has made it very clear that he’s looking forward to making this an exciting, thriving community, that’s our agenda and that’s why Tony is running.”
Harris said better quality jobs, affordability and health care are pressing issues facing the area. Nanaimo Regional General Hospital serves the population north of the Malahat and a tertiary hospital with cancer care and full cardiac treatment is needed, said Harris.
“The biggest impact I can have is bringing attention to what’s really important here,” said Harris when asked about how he will achieve that if elected. “Nobody’s ever presented that vision for Nanaimo, the comprehensive vision. It’s always been piecemeal investments and they’ve been good investments, but we need to think bigger, more aspirationally. That’s actually a metaphor for our community as a whole, we need to be thinking about the comprehensive picture and I believe that I can present a vision and a strong voice for the community unlike we’ve ever had in the past.”
RELATED: Nanaimo byelection on Jan. 30
Harris’s campaign office is based out of SOUP Cowork Nanaimo, a shared workspace. He talked about what he could do for small business, like SOUP.
“My focus on Nanaimo is bringing attention and investment to institutional areas of our community, whether it’s hospital, port and university, but when we really focus on these key areas in our community it drives more investment from private enterprise because they feel confident in the community’s diversity in the way it moves forward, so I’m just totally focused on bringing more good paying jobs to Nanaimo and with that we can elevate the overall quality of life here for all hard-working families,” said Harris.
When asked if he foresaw another provincial election should Harris win on Jan. 30, Wilkinson said it was hard to forecast.
“One never knows in British Columbia,” said Wilkinson. “It’s an interesting scenario because Tony’s a linchpin in determining what the political future of British Columbia is.”
General voting day is Jan. 30, with advance voting beginning Jan. 22.