It might be early August but Nanaimo’s current member of Parliament has his sights set on October.
On Friday, Aug. 2, Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly of the Green Party held his official campaign launch for the upcoming federal election at the Nanaimo Curling Centre. Manly, who became the second-ever federal Green Party member to hold a seat in the House of Commons when he was elected in a byelection earlier this year, said his win sent “shockwaves” across Canada and caught the attention of media from around the world.
“Together we did this,” he told a crowd which included Green Party leader Elizabeth May and former Baywatch star and activist Pamela Anderson.
The first-time member of Parliament said in the short time he’s been in Ottawa he’s worked extremely hard to represent his constituents, mentioning meeting the Minister of National Defence over land-use issues and outdoor recreation activities at Nanaimo Military Range. He said he had enjoyed his time in Ottawa and hopes to be able to continue to represent the riding in the fall.
“I’m really ready to go at it again,” he said.
Manly, during a lengthy speech, mentioned some of the issues for the Green Party and the riding such as climate change, regulating the oil and gas industry, housing affordability and a universal single-payer pharmacare system. He also shared a number of stories about his time in Ottawa, including one time he ended up working with Liberal MP Adam Vaughan from Spadina-Fort York on affordable housing, pointing to it as an example of how he could work with his peers in Ottawa regardless of their political party.
“We started to work together to figure out what we could do because there was a pot of money from [Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation …] but it was going to be eight months and he tried to see if he could circumvent that, but the system is the system,” Manly said. “I’ve got up and debated with [Vaughan] but I did it in a way that was cordial and respectful. [I was] working across party lines to do what is best for Nanaimo-Ladysmith. That’s the way I was working in Parliament and that is the way we have to work.”
Party leader May told the crowd their “hard work” has made a huge difference and changed people’s expectations of the Green Party. She also said in the first month Manly was in office, they had to vote 56 times and that the Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP was extremely hard-working.
“I want you to know that [Manly] spoke more often in the House of Commons from May 27 to June 20 than the honourable member for Nanaimo-Ladysmith in the same period last year,” she said. “We work hard to get a record of accomplishment that you can be proud of.”
May said she believes the next government will likely be a minority and therefore it is important to vote for the Greens, particularly Manly.
“In a minority government we need as many people to conduct themselves exactly as Paul just told you he did since he was elected, [with] a willingness to work across party lines, a commitment to always thinking, ‘what can I do today that makes things better for the people in my community?’ and a willingness to say, ‘we don’t care who gets the credit as long as the right things happen,’ because right now we are in climate emergency,” May said.
In a brief interview with the News Bulletin, Anderson, who did not give a speech during the launch, said she’s known Manly for many years and believes in the work he is doing. She also said that Canada can lead the way when it comes to the environment, especially if the Green Party were to get more seats or become the governing party.
“[Canada] can get so much respect. People are activists these days, especially younger people,” Anderson said. “They really want somebody to vote for and who do you vote for? … Climate change is the most important thing to think about and I think the Green Party has always been there defending the rights of the environment.”
Speaking to the News Bulletin afterward, Manly said there is an affordable housing crisis and mental health and addiction crisis in the community as well as a lot of seniors who need pharmacare. He said in addition to the need for dramatic action on climate change and protecting the environment, the government needs to do a better job of taking care of Canadians.
“That’s the message of the Green Party,” he said. “We have a very rounded set of policies that we are presenting. We have forward-thinking health care policies that are all about prevention and helping people and doing those things that keep people out of the hospital. Basic things such as universal pharmacare, universal dental care. We need to make sure vulnerable people in the community have housing, that we have good jobs in the community, that we foster opportunities for small businesses and economic development in this area. Those are all really important.”
Manly talking about the second time he was heckled while in the house. Says it was a Conservative who heckled him. Here’s a video of him telling the story. pic.twitter.com/uiQJou5pqc
— Nicholas M Pescod (@npescod) August 3, 2019
— Nicholas M Pescod (@npescod) August 3, 2019
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