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B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words
Candidates in the Nanaimo riding include Kathleen Jones, B.C. Liberal Party, top left; Sheila Malcolmson, NDP; Lia Versaevel, Green Party. (Photos submitted/News Bulletin photo/Elections B.C. image)

The News Bulletin e-mailed the same questions to all candidates in the Nanaimo riding, giving them the opportunity to identify their priorities in their own words. One candidate did not reply to the questionnaire by deadline but provided information to the News Bulletin in an alternate format.


Kathleen Jones

Occupation/background: Jones, who is now retired, had a lengthy career in social services where she helped children, families, vulnerable adults and seniors with specialized tools and resources to help them through critical and difficult times in their lives. Jones has been an active member in the community since raising her two kids while volunteering with the Block Watch program, Nanaimo RCMP Community Policing, Canadian Blood Services, along with other groups and organizations in Nanaimo.

Why are you running for MLA? I put my name forward to run because I want to help Nanaimo become a safe community with resources for people who are struggling. I want to work with the small business owners who need help rebuilding through these tough economic times. I spent over 25 years as a social worker working with families, youth and seniors. I know what it takes to keep families strong and safe, to bring them back together, as well as to help vulnerable youth get off the streets and back into society. The NDP’s so-called solution of buying hotels and building temporary housing is definitely not the answer.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? Dealing with crime, homelessness, need for a tertiary hospital/cancer and cardiology clinic, patient tower and getting new green businesses and technologies here providing high-paying jobs.


Sheila Malcolmson, 54

Occupation/background: Environmental Studies BA, energy analyst, kayak guide, small business operator, former chair of Islands Trust, MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith and MLA for Nanaimo.

Why are you running for MLA? I love my community, love the coast, and want to keep fighting for it. After 16 years of B.C. Liberal cuts to services, schools, seniors care, and tax holidays for the wealthy and well connected, the NDP has been working hard to build BC back up. We’ve made a lot of progress for Nanaimo the past three years – investing in childcare, care homes and the hospital here, for example. We’ve advanced reconciliation with Snuneymuxw First Nation.

There is still more to do and the BC NDP will keep supporting people through the recovery and address the gaps the pandemic has exposed, so we emerge more resilient than before. I’d be honoured to serve to carry that work on.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? This election is about who’s best to fight the pandemic, keep folks healthy and safe, and make sure the economy works for people.

When COVID hit, our B.C. NDP government took action to keep people safe and get them the help they needed. As we begin to recover, we need to create growth that raises the standard of living of everybody. While the B.C. Liberals continue to advocate for people at the top, we are working to create an economy where everyone can get ahead.

Already in Nanaimo the NDP has invested in hospital expansion, 1,500-plus affordable housing and childcare spaces, more teachers and school upgrades, and new tools to treat homelessness, mental illness and addiction. This election is about making sure we continue to move B.C. forward, with a new medical school to train more family doctors, freezing rent, building a Nanaimo cancer centre, more affordable housing and safe long-term care homes, and adding thousands of new jobs in our Clean B.C. plan, to bring us to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.


Lia Marie Versaevel, 64

Occupation/background: Lia Versaevel has a wealth of experience in conflict resolution, collaborative justice, education and law enforcement, as well as advocacy for the vulnerable.

Versaevel spent 27 years with the B.C. Ministry of the Attorney General before moving to the U.S. to work in family mediation. On her return to Vancouver Island in 2013, she re-established her business, Accord Family Mediation Services.

Versaevel is board member of the Chemainus Residents’ Association, a cabinet member of Lions Club International here on the island, and member of the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

She is currently working as a Poverty Law Advocate in the Quw’utsun (Cowichan) Valley.

Why are you running for MLA? My mission as MLA is to reinvigorate our coastal riding using a common sense approach to heal our communities from the inside out.

I will fight tirelessly to protect, improve and enhance our education and medical systems for every single resident. Two-tier educational and medical standards are not acceptable.

I will also push for economic prosperity and sustainable environmental stewardship. These are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is my goal to make the green economy the largest growth sector of business in this riding. We can manage our resources using science, stewardship and conservation as guiding principles. Not only will we create real, long-term jobs, but we will also create a chain reaction, producing an economic system that is not prone to boom- and-bust.

The Nanaimo riding is one of the most diverse and idyllic in all of Canada. I won’t just say this riding is the best place on earth, I will work with every resident to make it the best place on Earth.

What will your priorities be, if elected? Environmental protection, climate change, education, healthcare, respecting diversity and protection of our most vulnerable citizens through a sustainable economy will be my priorities as your next MLA.

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