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Campaigning begins in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Incumbent Paul Manly of the Green Party seeking re-election
Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May joins Nanaimo-Ladysmith Green Party incumbent Paul Manly at a rally Sunday, Aug. 15, at Maffeo Sutton Park. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

The campaign is underway and candidates in Nanaimo-Ladysmith are off and running for election or re-election.

A 36-day election campaign officially began Sunday, Aug. 15, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Gov. Gen. Mary Simon to dissolve Parliament to set up a Sept. 20 federal election.

In Nanaimo-Ladysmith, all major parties had candidates in place before the election was called: Paul Manly of the Green Party is the incumbent, Tamara Kronis will represent the Conservative Party, Lisa Marie Barron is the NDP candidate and Michelle Corfield is running again for the Liberals.

The Greens held a rally on Sunday night at Maffeo Sutton Park, with live music and special guests including former party leader Elizabeth May and, participating via Zoom, scientist, author and broadcaster David Suzuki.

“It is weird that [Trudeau] boasts of the government’s response to COVID, but it isn’t a Liberal government, and if it’s been so successful, why call an election now?” Suzuki asked.

May said during a two-year minority government, members of Parliament were able to work together to pass hard legislation.

“[Trudeau] can’t point to a single thing that hasn’t worked, except that he’s had to work with others to get things done and he doesn’t like it,” May said.

Barron said she agreed with her party leader Jagmeet Singh that it’s not the right time for an election.

“There’s a lot of people, both here in this community and across Canada, that are still trying to figure out what it means for them to remain safe,” Barron said.

Kronis said although she would have liked to see the country make it through the fourth wave of the pandemic before an election, the campaign is a chance to ask important questions of Canadians.

“The truth is, we need Parliament to focus on economic recovery and we’re the economic recovery people,” she said. “So while I share the anxiety of many Canadians around campaigning during COVID, I think that it’s really important that the house get a clear mandate for economic recovery.”

Corfield said an election is the chance for all Canadians to have their voice matter during a pandemic that has impacted everyone.

“We as Canadians have to come forward and express our views and our opinions about how we want to shape our Canada as we go forward. We need everybody participating in this,” she said. “We’re just coming to the end of a global pandemic, everybody’s world has changed and we need to be a part of designing that future forward.”

Corfield said the Liberals have a chance to do better at the polls in Nanaimo-Ladysmith as she said the party is a known entity and people can see the party’s record on COVID-19, climate action and other issues.

“It’s time for Vancouver Island to elect somebody who is in the representative government…” Corfield said. “When we don’t have representatives in the party that’s ruling, our messages are lost.”

READ ALSO: Canadians will head to the polls for a federal election on Sept. 20

In the most recent federal election in 2019, Manly and the Green Party received about 35 per cent of the vote, the Conservatives were runners-up with 26 per cent of the vote, the NDP were third with 24 per cent and the Liberals fourth with 14 per cent.

Kronis said her focus during the coming campaign will be meeting people, hearing their stories and finding out what they want from their federal representative. She said she wants to become MP to problem-solve, help people and speak for Island needs and Island values in the House of Commons.

“Having the Island be controlled by the NDP and the Greens simply has not gotten us results in Ottawa and I believe it’s time for a different voice,” she said.

Barron said the riding is one the New Democrats can win back. She said she believes that the NDP’s promises to fight for people and for the environment will hold appeal and she expressed faith in the party’s capacity to do the work necessary.

“I feel like our community and the people in this community deserve better than what they’ve been getting. So many are struggling…” she said. “An NDP MP representing this riding would provide a stronger voice in Parliament [and] it will strengthen inter-governmental relationships.”

At the Green rally on Sunday, Manly spoke to the crowd about a range of issues including social justice and energy policy, and asked for their support in what he reiterated was an unnecessary election.

“If they want an election, then we’re going to go into it the way we always do as Greens,” he said. “We’re going to have fun, we’re going to bring the community together and we are going to win the hearts and minds of Nanaimo-Ladysmith and send me back to Ottawa where I will hold the government to account.”

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Nanaimo-Ladysmith federal election candidates include Lisa Marie Barron, NDP, top left; Michelle Corfield, Liberal Party; Tamara Kronis, Conservative Party, bottom left; and Paul Manly, Green Party. (News Bulletin photos)

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