Sheila Malcolmson is looking to carry on a legacy.
Malcolmson, former Islands Trust chairwoman, is the New Democratic Party’s federal candidate for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
It’s a new riding in a region that has a history of being a battleground between the Conservatives and New Democrats and she wants to take the representation for the NDP.
For 11 years, NDP member of Parliament Jean Crowder has kept her seat in the Nanaimo-Cowichan riding while former Conservative MP James Lunney held Nanaimo-Alberni. This year, Crowder won’t be running and Malcolmson believes there’s a chance to carry on her legacy, which has involved environmental protection, social justice and a strong connection to indigenous leaders. With her elected experience, environmental and small business background, she feels “well placed” to carry on Crowder’s work and legacy.
“We’re hearing really strongly at the doorstep that people are really ready for change, that they’re very motivated to see the Harper government gone,” she said.
Malcolmson lives on Gabriola Island where she’s been elected four times to the Islands Trust. She’s also worked for a small business that did ocean kayak and bicycle tours and in energy policy ratepayer advocacy and environmental protection. Her interest in environment is rooted in family with a mother and grandmother who were committed hobby ecologists. Malcolmson said she can’t think of a time she wasn’t aware of environmental issues and curious and respectful of the natural environment. Her grandfather, a Supreme Court judge, ran for elected office a number of times in the 1940s for the CCF.
“I’m really grateful to both lines of the family, the teaching about the natural environment and then the commitment to take action and try to make change at an elected level,” she said.
Malcolmson has been knocking on doors since November. She’s been hearing a lot on the door step about sustainable jobs and the question of how they can make people feel secure about long-term employment “and there’s a big federal role in that.” She also sees the imperative to build, or repair, the damaged relationship with indigenous people.
“One of the things that I’m so pleased that [NDP leader] Tom Mulcair announced early on is a commitment to a public inquiry on murdered and [missing] indigenous women – that’s a fundamental, let’s clear the air and honour what indigenous leaders are asking us to do,” she said. “And we’ve got a whole list of actions that I feel that I’ve got the elected experience and the will to be able to work together as a team with indigenous people in the region and implement.”