A lot of voters in Nanaimo have made up their minds about how they plan to vote. Everyone else has a week to decide.
Advance voting is underway for the provincial byelection in the Nanaimo riding, and general voting day is next Wednesday, Jan. 30.
Today in the News Bulletin, we’re offering one voter information tool to try to help readers, and have provided space in tomorrow’s print issue for the six candidates to outline their reasons for running and their priorities, in their own words.
JUSTIN GREENWOOD, 37
Occupation/background: Area manager for a real estate marketing firm. Background in business administration.
Why are you running for MLA? I’m running for MLA because I want to perform a service for the people and one way to do that is to represent them in Victoria.
What will your priorities be, if you are elected? My priorities will be to hold the government to account and to give Nanaimo a true voice in the legislature.
For far too long the representation has been held to toe party lines. The Conservatives believe in free votes in the legislature.
More information: www.justingreenwood.ca/
TONY HARRIS, 35
B.C. Liberal Party
Occupation/background: Businessperson, senior executive with the Harris Group. I was born in Nanaimo and I’m the youngest of five children and a sixth generation Nanaimoite. I started my first business at seven selling peanuts from a 25-cent vending machine in my dad’s car dealership. I love our community and have a long-standing track record of giving back to Nanaimo including founding the Tony Harris Hockey Classic charity street hockey tournament in 2005, chairman of the Tom Harris Charity Classic and board member of the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation. I am also a husband and father of two young children with one on the way.
Why are you running for MLA? I am running because I believe Nanaimo has been taken for granted for too long and we need a strong voice in Victoria that is focused on Nanaimo’s needs and someone who will bring forward aspirational and bold ideas that will make our city an even better place to live, work and play.
I believe I have that voice and will finally get Nanaimo the investment and attention it deserves. For me, this byelection is all about Nanaimo, not politics and on Jan. 30 we have an opportunity to send a different voice to Victoria that’s all about our city and how we can improve it.
I never planned on getting into politics but I am here because I care deeply about our community and I can assure all Nanaimoites that regardless of the election outcome I will keep working on and advancing ideas that will improve our city.
What will your priorities be, if you are elected? I am the only candidate who has put forward a detailed, made-in-Nanaimo vision for our community. My priorities and ideas include a full tertiary hospital, job-creating expansion of the Port at Duke Point, and bringing common sense to tax policy in Victoria.
I have also taken a strong stand on fighting the punishing speculation tax, engaging the community to address our homelessness challenges while keeping our neighbourhoods safe, and delivering real solutions to the needs for affordable childcare and housing options.
For me it was important that I lay out my ideas for all voters to see in one place – it’s what voters deserve.
More information: www.tonyfornanaimo.ca/
SHEILA MALCOLMSON, 53
Occupation/background: Former member of Parliament, former chairwoman of the Islands Trust Council.
Why are you running for MLA? It has been an honour to serve the people of Nanaimo as an Island trustee, chair of the Islands Trust, and MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith. Now I am running to be your MLA because I want to keep building on the energy and opportunities we’re seeing in Nanaimo. After 16 years of B.C. Liberal choices that hurt people in our community, we are finally turning things around. With John Horgan as premier and Leonard Krog as mayor, we are at a time of incredible potential for Nanaimo. In this byelection, the stakes are high and the choice is clear. We can keep moving forward or we can go back to the B.C. Liberals. I am seeking the support of Nanaimo voters because I have the experience and commitment to work with all levels of government to keep building a better Nanaimo.
What will your priorities be, if you are elected? Since the B.C. NDP formed government, we have more ambulances and paramedics, more teachers for our kids, and more care hours for our seniors. We’re building affordable housing, and 2,700 Nanaimo kids now have access to affordable child care.
I am especially proud that Nanaimo hospital is finally getting a badly needed new ICU. The B.C. Liberals refused to act after a 2013 report called our ICU “the worst we’ve seen in Canada.” . As your MLA, I will continue to build on this progress. Some of my priorities include: Ongoing action to calm housing prices and provide long-term solutions for affordable housing; providing Nanaimo with an urgent primary care centre; protecting our coast from oil spills and working with all levels of government to clean up the pollution caused by abandoned vessels; working with the private sector to get harbour-to-harbour foot passenger ferry service to Vancouver; ensuring people in Nanaimo are poised to seize the opportunities presented in Clean B.C., the government’s ambitious plan to fight climate change and generate jobs of the future.
More information: sheilamalcolmson.bcndp.ca/
MICHELE NEY, 56
B.C. Green Party
Occupation/background: I am proud to call Nanaimo my home. As the daughter of former mayor and MLA Frank Ney, serving my community is part of my DNA. I am a recently retired 32-year public school teacher and have actively volunteered on anti-bullying, community/culture and professional development committees. I take immense pride in having helped to shape the leaders of tomorrow.
Why are you running for MLA? I have spent my career nurturing the next generation and witnessing what is possible when people are supported and empowered. Through my father, I have learned how political leadership can bring out the best in people and lead to crucial community growth. Over the last 20 years, Nanaimo hasn’t received the support it deserves and needs to adapt to a changing economy, and after witnessing this first hand I knew it was time for me to take action and bring a strong local voice to Nanaimo. I am not here to seek power or a place in government but I am here as a leader to push the government towards better, innovative policy solutions for our greatest challenges.
What will your priorities be, if you are elected? Electing a B.C. Green MLA is the only way to guarantee the stability and accountability of government while pushing for bolder action on housing affordability, clean business, transportation modernization and climate change. Locally, my priorities will include bringing more affordable housing to Nanaimo and returning the housing market to those who need housing for homes, not for investment; promoting economic growth through clean business; investing in education; bringing 21st Century transportation solutions to link Nanaimo to other parts of Vancouver Island and beyond; and taking steps to address climate change.
More information: www.micheleney.ca/
Vancouver Island Party
Occupation/background: Richardson is a distinguished Harvard University-educated economist who has served as senior economist for the Toronto Dominion Bank, chief economist for a major stockbrokerage company and national research director and chief economist for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. He is also a former Canadian member of Parliament and public policy analyst. He is an author, pastor, historian and former college professor. Richardson served in the Royal Canadian Artillery. For many years, he was executive director of Haven House – Victoria Military Hospitality Centre.
Richardson lives in Victoria and at his vacation home in Nanaimo with his wife Jacqui of 52 years and their dog Daisy. Robin and Jacqui have two children and two grandchildren.
What will your priorities be, if you are elected? There would be instant gains for Nanaimo if you vote for Robin Richardson as your next MLA. Robin will demand that the February NDP budget include:
A pilot project for a guaranteed annual income for the City of Nanaimo. This will end poverty for low-income seniors, children and others.
A pilot project for free tuition for students at Vancouver Island University, with four years’ Vancouver Island residency, who are from families with no more than $90,000 family income.
An end to the NDP speculation tax on all properties in the Regional District of Nanaimo.
Provincial funding for a passenger-only ferry service from downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver.
Provincial funding for tourism development on Newcastle Island for the Snuneymuxw First Nation and its Petroglyph Development Corp.
More information: www.vanisleparty.com
Occupation/background: I am a local businessman and have lived in Nanaimo for 25 years.
Why are you running for MLA? I believe in freedom – freedom of speech, free markets, freedom of choice. Too much government and government intervention stifles our freedoms and productivity.
I want less government and lower taxes and I think most hard-working, responsible people are for this. As Christy Clark said before the last election, people know how to spend their money a lot better that the government.
What will your priorities be, if you are elected? Carbon tax – this must be eliminated now. We must join the other provinces and end this tax. My position is that the attack on CO2 is scientifically unjustified. It is essential to life on the planet. Thirty per cent of the price of a litre of gas in our area is tax. This is too much. It affects our competitiveness and the price of everything. Energy is the lifeblood of our economy and must be abundant, reliable and reasonably priced.
ICBC – The attorney general says ICBC is a “dumpster fire.” They built the dumpster and successive governments have stoked the fire. We endorse the CTF plan to turn ICBC into a co-op. People can join the co-op if they wish and the rest can shop for private insurance of their choice. It will also be ‘unlootable’ and apolitical.
Ride sharing – Let’s get on with it. We don’t need government interference. The model is working everywhere in the world. We don’t need need the government to regulate it and control it.
Private medical clinics – Other Western nations have a mix of private and public services. Health care is fundamentally a personal responsibility and we should have the freedom to choose. We need competitiveness back in the medical system.
Marijuana – Libertarians have advocated for the decriminalization of marijuana for over 40 years. We support the nascent craft cannabis industry which the government is trying to shut down, driving it back underground. The government should not be in the marijuana business (and should have been out of the alcohol business years ago).
More information: libertariannanaimo.ca/
VOTER INFORMATION EVENTS:
Advance voting runs until Sunday, Jan. 27 with general voting day Jan. 30. Anyone 18 and older who is a Canadian citizen, lives in the Nanaimo riding and has lived in B.C. for at least six months is eligible to vote.