Nanaimo’s MP is going to try to make a move to provincial politics.
Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson announced this morning that she will be pursuing the NDP nomination to try for the Nanaimo MLA seat to be vacated by Leonard Krog, who was elected this past weekend as Nanaimo’s next mayor.
Malcolmson told reporters while she loves her role in federal politics, her decision to run provincially comes down to dealing with issues at home in Nanaimo.
“Let me be clear. I love the job I have now. I love being Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s member of Parliament. I’m proud that Jagmeet Singh is the leader of the federal NDP. I love dearly and deeply admire my federal caucus members,” Malcolmson said. “But the environmental and the housing crises that we see right here in our community cannot wait until the next federal election.”
Malcolmson said she looks forward to the opportunity to join Premier John Horgan’s “progressive government and implement solutions on the ground now” and is “inspired” by the NDP and Green Party co-operative government. She also said her decision to leave federal politics has nothing to do with Singh’s leadership.
Malcolmson would resign from her seat as a member of Parliament in order to run in the provincial byelection.
“I’m confident this can be done without triggering a federal byelection and without breaking constituents’ service here in the riding,” she said.
Horgan was on hand for this morning’s announcement and said Malcolmson is perfectly suited to replace Krog.
“She will continue her work to fight for the coast and the people who live here,” the premier said.
Horgan also took a few questions from reporters about his decision to have Malcolmson run for NDP nomination. Asked how the riding association felt about the decision, Horgan said he couldn’t speak for them, but said he consulted with Krog and Malcolmson on the decision.
“Leonard and I looked at the landscape and … we both agreed that if Sheila was prepared to give up her good work in Ottawa to come and work in the government of British Columbia, that she would be the ideal candidate,” he said. “When I talked to Sheila we looked at all the issues that are important to her and how we could work together to resolve (them), she agreed to seek the nomination and I am very confident she will be successful at that level and into the byelection when we call it.”
Horgan didn’t disclose when he would call a provincial byelection. He said a new MLA would be in place in Nanaimo in time for budget debate in February.
B.C. Liberals leader Andrew Wilkinson released a statement this morning saying his party is looking forward to an “energetic byelection campaign.”
“Nanaimo voters have loyally supported the NDP for years – yet on John Horgan’s watch, their local MLA was shut out of cabinet. In the upcoming byelection, the people of Nanaimo have an opportunity to elect an MLA who will be a true champion for the community’s needs and priorities,” Wilkinson said.
Malcolmson is a first-term member of Parliament, elected in 2015 with 33.2 per cent of the vote. Her 23,651 vote count was about 7,000 votes ahead of two of the runners-up, Liberal candidate Tim Tessier and Conservative candidate Mark MacDonald.