Robin Richardson, founder and leader of the Vancouver Island Party, is vying to become Nanaimo’s next MLA. His party’s aim is to separate Vancouver Island from British Columbia. (NICHOLAS PESCOD/NEWS BULLETIN)

Nanaimo byelection candidate wants to see Vancouver Island separate from B.C.

Robin Richardson, leader of the Vancouver Island Party, announces intention to run for MLA

A politician hoping to separate Vancouver Island from British Columbia wants to be Nanaimo’s MLA.

Robin Richardson, the founder and leader of the Vancouver Island Party, announced that he will be a candidate in the upcoming byelection in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo’s riding will be vacated by MLA Leonard Krog, who is now the mayor of Nanaimo. The B.C. Liberals have announced Tony Harris as their intended candidate in the byelection, while Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s current MP, is seeking the NDP’s nomination.

Speaking to the News Bulletin on Wednesday, Richardson said his party’s platform is to see Vancouver Island become its own province. He said with a population of 800,000-plus and years of being neglected, Vancouver Island is better off on its own.

“We would be at least 10 times better off. We have been neglected by both federal and provincial governments over the years, not just recently, but since confederation,” said Richardson, who lives in both Nanaimo and Victoria.

The Harvard University-educated economist and former provincial politician in Ontario said people on the Island are tired of being ignored from all levels of government.

“We have almost 17 per cent of the population of British Columbia, but we might only get about two or three per cent of the money that comes from Ottawa,” he said.

Vancouver Island Party’s platform includes ensuring balanced budgets for the province of Vancouver Island, upgrading the E&N railway into a commuter rail system from Victoria to Courtenay, free tuition for all Island students attending Vancouver Island University provided their family income is less than $90,000 a year, building light-rail transit systems across the Island and building a floating bridge between Mill Bay and Brentwood Bay. The party would also eliminate fares on B.C. Ferries for all passengers and reduce vehicle fares, according to Richardson. He said the party would also eliminate the speculation tax imposed on Nanaimo and have lower taxes than British Columbia and Washington state in order to attract businesses.

“Taxes are too high and what we would do … is make sure that our corporate and personal taxes are competitive,” he said. “One thing we would look at is flat income taxes instead of a progressive income tax. That has been tried in other places and it works.”

Should his party get elected, Richardson said he would request a referendum on the question of separation. If successful, his party would then begin negotiations with Ottawa to join confederation, adding that the separation process wouldn’t cost much money.

Richardson envisions 28 ridings on Vancouver Island and said he’d prefer to see mixed-member proportional representation, which would give each riding two members. He said the capital of Vancouver Island would be in Nanaimo for the first two years, before moving to Victoria.

“We would give [the B.C .government] two years to move out of Victoria and then we would move into the legislature,” he said. “Nanaimo would be the capital for the first two years until we get our ducks in a row.”

Richardson said he wants the upcoming referendum to be all about separating Vancouver Island from the province and believes he can attract “soft” Liberals, New Democrats, Greens and Conservative voters. He said he doesn’t think he needs a lot of votes to win in the byelection because there will be plenty of vote splitting.

“I figure if I get 9,000 votes I can win,” Richardson said.







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Greater Victoria in high-demand on website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

B.C. NDP leader John Horgan poses with members of the public during a ‘mainstreeting’ campaign stop Sunday, Oct. 18, at Parksville Community Park. (Peter McCully/Black Press)
‘Buy a boat,’ premier advises anti-maskers on B.C. Ferries

John Horgan talks COVID-19 misinformation, cancer centre, long-term care with News Bulletin

The French Creek Pollution Control Centre. (PQB News file photo)
RDN targets grants for major projects in Nanoose Bay, French Creek and Whiskey Creek

Official says projects have a strong chance to be approved for cash

The B.C. Ferries vessel the Queen of Alberni. (News Bulletin file photo)
UPDATE: Ferry breakdown will affect Monday’s Duke Point-Tsawwassen sailings

Queen of Alberni out of commission for the rest of the day

Nanaimo’s Rose McCulley brings a sampling of gloria mundi apples to the farmers’ market, where she was selling her canned fruit and secret-recipe apple pie filling. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Giant apples are in season for Nanaimo farmers’ market vendor

Rose McCulley helped bring gloria mundi apples back from the brink

In this photo provided by Shannon Kiss, smoke from the CalWood Fire billows, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, as seen from Gunbarrel, Colo. (Shannon Kiss via AP)
‘First guys out:’ Western Canadian air tanker fleet busy despite drop in wildfires

CEO believes wildfires have become more dangerous in recent years as people live closer to where they start

Fort St. John councillor Trevor Bolin (B.C. Conservative Party)
BC Conservatives leader fights back after BC Liberals leak 2018 workplace harassment case

Sexual harassment case was connected to employee being terminated, WorkSafeBC found

Employee Sophia Lovink shows off a bag of merchandise in Toronto on Thursday, June 11, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Canada gets C-average grade on 2nd year of cannabis legalization

Cannabis Council of Canada releases report card on federal government and legalization

Candidates in the Nanaimo riding include Kathleen Jones, B.C. Liberal Party, top left; Sheila Malcolmson, NDP; Lia Versaevel, Green Party. (Photos submitted/News Bulletin photo/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding include Chris Istace, B.C. Green Party, top left; Duck Paterson, B.C. Liberals; and Doug Routley, NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo-North Cowichan candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Parksville-Qualicum riding include Rob Lyon, B.C. Green Party, top left; Don Purdey, Conservatives; John St. John, independent; Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberals; and Adam Walker, B.C. NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Parksville-Qualicum candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. suburbs could see increased demand for rental units as people work from home

Vancouver’s average monthly rent is the highest out of 35 cities across Canada

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada-USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States are being extended until at least Nov. 21. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

The restrictions do not apply to those providing essential services in either country

Jordan Naterer, 25, was last seen Saturday Oct. 10. He planned a hike in the Manning Park area, and has not been seen since. Photo Facebook.
Family devastated as search for missing Manning Park hiker suspended

‘It was an extremely difficult meeting with the parents when we had to tell them.’

Most Read