Top row, left to right, Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; bottom row, left to right, John Hirst, Conservatives; Paul Manly, Greens; Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party. (Submitted photos and NEWS BULLETIN file photo)

Top row, left to right, Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; bottom row, left to right, John Hirst, Conservatives; Paul Manly, Greens; Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party. (Submitted photos and NEWS BULLETIN file photo)

Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection candidates present their priorities

Six candidates outline their reasons for running and their priorities in their own words

Nanaimo-Ladysmith will elect a new member of Parliament on May 6.

There are seven candidates on the ballot, and six of them responded to the News Bulletin’s offer to present their priorities, in their own words, in our newspaper and on our website.

Voters don’t have to wait until May 6 – advance polls are open April 26-29, from noon-8 p.m. To find out where to vote and what ID to bring, read over voter information cards that were mailed out, visit, or call 1-800-463-6868. For information about riding boundaries, click here.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection candidates include:


Age 54

Occupation/background: Vice-president of Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, chief councillor of the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, a lead negotiator in the recent agreement to remove fish farms from wild salmon migration routes.

Why are you running for MP? I’ve been a champion of our coast and way of life here on the Island for decades. I want to be your MP because decisions in Ottawa are hurting us and our children’s future. From the affordable housing crisis to the climate emergency to the risk of increased toxic oil tanker traffic on our coast, the Liberals let us down and the Conservatives would make things worse. I know how to fight for the things that matter and I’ve demonstrated that I get results. I grew up in Nanaimo and raised my son here as a single dad. I’m eager to take on Ottawa for everyone in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? Take on the housing crisis starting with building more affordable housing for seniors, families, student and singles. We have to make it more affordable for people to rent and purchase homes.

Save everyone money and improve health care with medication coverage for all. You should be able to pay for your medication with your health card, not your credit card.

Help young people get a start in life by lowering the high costs of education.

Make sure seniors have a more secure retirement by protecting their pensions from bankruptcy, claw backs and delays.

Work for sustainability that provides security for our land, air and water, as well as the certainty that comes with reconciliation with First Nations.

Stop the risk of a 700-per cent increase in toxic oil tanker traffic on our coast and fight climate change with tough targets.

Generate good jobs by making Canada a world leader in clean energy.

The Liberals have let us down on these issues, but we can’t risk going back to the Conservatives. I’m asking people in Nanaimo-Ladysmith to stick together and vote NDP for an MP who is in your corner.


Age 43

Occupation/background: Financial sector, helping parents set up registered education savings plans for their children’s future post-secondary education. Additionally, worked as a natural health practitioner, providing health services for veterans and seniors.

Why are you running for MP? My grandfather enlisted into the Canadian military during the Second World War, was deployed to Belgium and was shot eight times by machine gun fire (he miraculously survived and is now in his mid 90s living in Cape Breton). He served his country to defend our freedoms without receiving anything in return. The values that he fought for are the same values that I want for my children and grandchildren. I’ve seen our freedoms being eroded in the last several years and our national sovereignty is being handed over to international organizations. I am also concerned about the unprecedented levels of immigration that are taxing our country’s ability to successfully absorb and integrate newcomers to be productive members of Canadian society. In addition, Canada has an abundance of resources that are being mismanaged due to poor policy. The PPC has a strong cultural and economic platform to bring common sense back to government. We want to stimulate and diversify the economy by reducing government spending, removing barriers to competitiveness and lowering personal and business taxes. We want to return prosperity to the people of Canada by making life more affordable. And we will help the provinces bring world-class, well-funded health and social support programs for Canadians in need.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? My priorities will be to bring integrity and accountability back to government. One of the first issues I will look into once elected is how to minimize unnecessary byelections like the one we are currently facing. In my opinion, political parties should pay for the costs of byelections if their MPs voluntarily resign to pursue other career opportunities. A few simple rule changes like this would allow constituents to have more confidence that their elected representative is truly working for them, and not using their position to play political games.


Age 50

Occupation/background: I was raised in Nanaimo and have always been a tireless advocate for people in our community, in addition to creating jobs and opportunity as an entrepreneur. I served as chair and vice-chair of the Nanaimo Port Authority, chair of the legislative council of the Ucluelet First Nation, and I’m a founding member of the Ucluelet First Nation Settlement Trust. I facilitated the conclusion of the Colliery Dam remediation for the City of Nanaimo, was a leader in the Save Nanaimo Harbour campaign, and served on several non-profit community boards. As a director for the Stevie Smith Legacy Foundation, I worked tirelessly to help ensure that Nanaimo’s Stevie Smith Bike Park was completed in 2017 – a project which also provided bicycles and basic riding essentials to underprivileged children in our community.

Why are you running for MP? Through my work with the Nanaimo Port Authority and other community initiatives, I have come to see opportunities for growth here in our community that we need to leverage so our kids and grandkids can continue to thrive here at home. I believe I have the experience that our community needs to make a real difference.

I know how important it is to Islanders for us to have a strong, local voice in Ottawa – one that understands the issues that matter most to our community. I will work with the Liberal government – the only party with a positive plan to strengthen our middle class, grow our economy, protect and preserve our environment, offer real help for our families, advance pharmacare, and create opportunities for all hard-working Islanders, so we can build on a better future for the next generation.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? In Nanaimo-Ladysmith, we need a committed local champion in Parliament who knows our region’s challenges and opportunities, and who will always be a strong voice for our community. I’ll work with the Liberal government to grow our economy, strengthen our middle class, invest in more affordable housing and better infrastructure, and protect a healthy environment for our kids and grandkids.I will collaborate with the Liberal government to ensure our needs are met here in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.


Age 32

Occupation/background: financial centre manager at Sun Life.

Why are you running for MP? For years I have been serving my community with groups like Gyro and Young Professionals of Nanaimo along with other organizations in the community. The opportunity to serve as our MP would allow me to have a bigger impact on our community. Like so many people in our community I am frustrated with lack of effective voice in Ottawa and the absence of real results in our community. Since the beginning of my campaign my message has been about getting a seat at the table and getting real results for our community. That means a seat in government and electing a Conservative to Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? If elected I plan on delivering real results for our community like local infrastructure funding, reducing crime, and creating more opportunity locally. We live in one of the lowest income areas of all of B.C. This is both a problem and an opportunity to create real change in people’s lives. When the median income in Nanaimo-Ladysmith is just over $32,000 a year, no wonder there is an affordability crisis. We also must ensure our West Coast views and values are part of the decision-making process, to certify our country takes them into consideration on issues like the environment, industry, and economic opportunity. On May 6 vote for a seat at the table to be part of the discussion to form national policy before the general election.


Age 55

Occupation/background: I have deep roots in Nanaimo and Ladysmith, my family has been part of this community for three generations. For two decades, I have operated a small business in Nanaimo creating educational films and supporting local organizations. I coordinated skills training programs for people with barriers to employment at Nanaimo Foodshare. I ran media training and empowerment programs for seniors, indigenous youth and people with disabilities. I’ve been a Mid Island Co-op board member for 11 years and was a director on the development board for Pacific Gardens Co-housing Community.

Why are you running for MP? I love our community and have seen how life has become less affordable as opportunities evaporated. This is because of decisions made by the big parties that do not have our community’s interests at heart. I have spent decades working to make life better at the local level and now I’m ready to fight for my neighbours in Ottawa.

The old parties aren’t delivering for people. Electing another Green MP will send them a strong message that they need to stop playing politics and start showing real results. Green MPs don’t have to vote how their leader tells them, so I will always be able to do what’s right for our community.

Between climate change, technological automation, and unfair trade deals that have distorted our economy and sent jobs offshore, we are facing many challenges. We need leaders with vision and courage who won’t stop fighting until they see results. I want to be that representative for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? I will fight to make Nanaimo-Ladysmith more affordable and full of opportunity for the people who live here. We need jobs in innovative growth industries like construction, technology, tourism and culture. We need to make it easier to start and operate a small business. We need to do more to help those struggling with poverty, mental health and addictions. And we need to stop subsidizing the old fossil fuel economy that is causing the climate crisis. That’s the only way we are going to secure a stable future for our kids so they can live healthy, prosperous lives.


Age 66

Occupation/background: Progressive Canadian candidate Brian Marlatt is a writer and researcher who has contributed to public policy development in parliamentary reform and to health care and business innovation, technology, and conferences on disabilities issues. General science writing on the social determinants of health discusses policy implications at the intersection of epigenetics and bioethics. Academic study and research in history and sciences at the University of Western Ontario informed his published contribution to a UN conference on natural disaster emergency response, recovery and mitigation concerning seismic risk and earthquake. Brian Marlatt was active on the B.C. Policy Advisor Committee of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada prior to the 2003 hostile ‘merger’ with the Canadian Alliance. Since joining Tory MPs and former cabinet ministers Sinclair Stevens and Heward Graffety in the new PC Party, he has been a candidate in four general elections and PC democratic reform critic, contributing briefs to Elections Canada and to parliamentary committees, most recently concerning Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act, which received royal assent in December 2018. On Vancouver Island since 2015, his principal concern has been the health care needs of his parents, particularly his father following a spinal cord injury and extensive hospitalization at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

Why are you running for MP? As our MP I will work to restore a principled progressive-conservative balance of progressive social policy and fiscal responsibility to evidence-based public policy, and will do so through issues of importance to this community and to all Canadians working across party lines. Members of Parliament are elected in riding elections to represent riding constituents while holding the government to account on issues of national importance. Restoring this parliamentary principle will restore the representative nature of our parliamentary democracy, undermined by movement activism driving party agendas.

What will your priorities be, if you are elected? Nation-building and national unity through targeted infrastructure and social investment, including: economic and trade opportunities, looking to Canadian domestic economic advantages and Commonwealth trade to balance change; health care, including seniors issues, autism, national pharmacare and funding; education and scientific research; investment in cultural industries and the arts; environment and climate change; democratic and parliamentary reform; veterans.


Jakob Letkemann did not provide a response to the questionnaire e-mailed by the News Bulletin.

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