Sheila Malcolmson is presented with a bouquet Wednesday at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre after being voted in as MLA in the Nanaimo byelection. NICHOLAS PESCOD/The News Bulletin

Malcolmson gets her chance to join a governing party

Sheila Malcolmson is the first woman to be elected Nanaimo MLA in 30 years

Nanaimo’s next MLA is about to get her first chance to represent a governing party.

Sheila Malcolmson of the B.C. NDP was chosen by 49 per cent of Nanaimo voters Wednesday in a byelection that had implications for the balance of the provincial legislature.

Malcolmson is only the second woman elected as MLA in the Nanaimo riding, and coincidentally, the first, Jan Pullinger of the NDP, took office following a byelection almost exactly 30 years ago.

Malcolmson said she spoke to Pullinger, whom she considers a mentor, last summer when considering seeking provincial office, and talked about being an MLA in a governing party.

“She was very clear that it’s a fantastic opportunity to make real change in people’s lives, and also the hardest thing I will ever do, that the work of a governing party is rewarding and very challenging,” Malcolmson said. “I’m ready for that challenge.”

RELATED: Malcolmson voted in as Nanaimo’s next MLA in byelection

As Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP for three years, representing the federal NDP, Malcolmson wasn’t in government or official opposition. Now she’ll be an MLA representing the government, and the buck stops with her party, leading B.C. after a decade and a half of Liberal leadership.

“We are going to continue to move forward in a good way, but we won’t be able to fix everything simultaneously. So there will be some disappointing conversations at the constituency level, I imagine,” Malcolmson said. “But as long as we can keep showing forward progress and taking forward the priorities of Nanaimo people, I’m really looking forward to doing that work with folks on the ground.”

She hopes she’ll be sworn in as Nanaimo MLA in time for the upcoming throne speech and budget deliberations. Beyond that, there have been no promises as to her role in the party, for example any sort of cabinet position.

“It’s not appropriate for anybody considering running for office to have any inducements, so that conversation didn’t happen,” Malcolmson said.

She said Premier John Horgan suggested that as MLA, she would have a chance to do work on a “whole host” of files related to “NDP values” around affordability, fairness, jobs, child care, health care and education, as well as environmental work related to coastal waters protection.

“I know how to be an advocate and I certainly honed that skill in Ottawa, but this gives me the opportunity to implement, alongside the federal and local government, and that was the premier’s invitation to me and the basis on which I stepped up and took the challenge,” said Malcolmson.

On voting day Wednesday, Malcolmson said she and her team felt they had done all they could, but acknowledged that the Liberal campaign was strong and so she was “greatly relieved” to see the vote go her way.

Her party “did not put stock” in the Mainstreet Research poll the week of the election that showed the B.C. Liberals with a 12.5-per cent lead, as Malcolmson said it did not reflect what the NDP was hearing on the ground.

“However, it was highly motivating to our volunteers and potential voters,” she said, adding that early in the campaign, voters were suggesting she would have an easy time holding the riding, whereas later in the campaign, they were more easily convinced that their vote mattered.

“I also think that the vote was a strong endorsement of the work that the NDP’s been able to do together with the Greens,” Malcolmson said. “I heard that people are hungry for seeing co-operation across party lines and that a minority government can be stable when we work well together and I’m very eager to carry that on.”

Malcolmson said she wanted to congratulate other candidates on their campaigns, particularly Tony Harris of the B.C. Liberals and Michele Ney of the Green Party.

“I’m really grateful for their and their families’ commitment to be willing to serve and to serve the community, and I hope I get to work with them in some capacity,” Malcolmson said.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo-Opoly will let board game players deal Harbour City properties

Victoria’s Outset Media and Walmart Canada partner on local edition of popular game

Man who pleaded guilty to beating over drug debt sees nine-year jail sentence

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo

Affordable housing project for people with disabilities breaks ground in Nanaimo

Uplands Drive project expected to be completed by summer 2020

World’s fastest bathtub racer to be determined this weekend in Nanaimo

Great International World Championship Bathtub Race caps full weekend of downtown events

Rescue required after woman falls trying to climb down from Nanaimo walkway

Husband says his wife fell trying to find a place to urinate

Fashion Fridays: 5 casual summer dress styles

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Beefs & Bouquets, July 18

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Celebrity adds star power to Green Party town hall in Nanaimo

Pamela Anderson attended with representatives from U.S.-based environmental group

Injured fawn at B.C. vet will be euthanized Friday night unless claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer is currently being treated at West Kelowna’s Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: IIO

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Most Read