Canada elected a majority Liberal government, while Vancouver Island became an NDP stronghold.
Sheila Malcolmson will become the Member of Parliament for the new Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding after winning with about one-third of the popular vote in Monday’s federal election.
“The people of Nanaimo-Ladysmith have spoken tonight and they have rejected the politics of fear and division and replaced that with a vision of hope and optimism,” she said. “You voted for a better, more inclusive Canada and I will stand with you and work for you for those values every day.”
With 245 of 254 polls reporting, Malcolmson had received 22,106 votes; Liberal candidate Tim Tessier, 15,836; Conservative candidate Mark MacDonald, 15,602; Green candidate Paul Manly, 13,163; Marxist-Leninist candidate Jack East, 119. Voter turnout was 71.4 per cent.
The victor thanked her political opponents for their willingness to serve and promised to represent the constituents who voted for her as well as the ones who voted for other parties.
Malcolmson acknowledged that the NDP lost many Members of Parliament across the country, but said she was proud of the party’s national campaign.
“We fought the good fight and we elevated the conversation and we stood up for what is important to people and the planet … Of course I wish that the electoral map had a slightly different colour to it, but the good news is it is looking like I am going to be working with New Democrat Members of Parliament, I hope, in six of seven Vancouver Island ridings.”
Malcolmson said the Nanaimo-Ladysmith vote tallies reflected her expectations.
“We were never complacent about the loyalty and commitment of the Conservative base here and I am really honoured by the support that we’ve had in the progressive movement to overcome that,” she said. “And I’m delighted that north Nanaimo’s going to get a progressive Member of Parliament for the first time in 20 years.”
Tessier’s strong showing in the riding wasn’t anticipated by the polls, but the candidate was most excited about the Liberal Party’s majority.
“It’s somewhat surreal,” Tessier said. “This truly will change how government runs and not only government, but also how Canada is.”
MacDonald said his campaign team tried its hardest. He expressed disappointment for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who resigned as Conservative Party leader.
“He fought so hard and did so many of the right things and we’ve all benefited as Canadians and now he’s off to the side and I understand he stepped down tonight, so I was honoured to run with him,” MacDonald said. “I think he’ll go down as one of the greatest prime ministers in Canadian history.”
Manly said he’s glad Harper will no longer be prime minister and looks forward to change. As for the Green campaign in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, Manly said he’s proud of his team and its spirit.
“Locally, it is not the result that I was hoping for,” Manly said. “I was hoping that I could win this riding and we had a really good chance. We put up a good run.”