Premier Christy Clark

Premier Christy Clark

Premier Clark, B.C. Liberals and B.C. NDP loading up for 2017 B.C. election

NANAIMO – Paris Gaudet expected to be acclaimed as Liberal candidate for Nanaimo. B.C. NDP's Leonard Krog and Doug Routley intend to run.

While the B.C. general election is scheduled for May, Nanaimo candidates are already beginning to throw their hats in the ring.

Paris Gaudet is expected to be acclaimed as B.C. Liberal candidate for Nanaimo Monday and she has the full support of B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who was in the Harbour City Friday meeting constituents.

“The thing about Paris is everybody in the community knows her from her work at Innovation Island,” said Clark. “She’s been a big mover in helping encourage the tech industry in the mid-Island,” said Clark.

As for Gaudet, she said she decided to run because she loves the Harbour City and said transportation, senior health care and tech sector growth are important election issues.

“It (the tech sector) is a booming sector, it’s the fastest growing sector in the province. Link that with education and trades and it could be a significant economic driver, for not only the community, but the mid-Island,” Gaudet said.

The B.C. NDP will hold its nomination meeting on Sept. 21 and Leonard Krog, incumbent Nanaimo MLA and Gaudet’s counterpart, will aim for another term. Krog isn’t aware of any competitors vying for the candidacy currently. Affordability will be a key election issue, he said.

“People who can’t afford houses, increasing [Medical Services Plan] premiums, ICBC, B.C. Hydro. I don’t mean to belittle it when I say this, it’s nothing you haven’t heard before from the NDP,” said Krog. “The fact is, people are finding it harder and harder to get by and they don’t see any relief in sight.”

Clark said there was no news to report in terms of Liberal candidates for Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding, but Doug Routley, B.C. NDP member and incumbent MLA, intends on running again. Education funding is one of the big issues, he said.

“We are somewhere around $1,100 per student (in education funding) lower than the Canadian average in an economy that is one of the most expensive to live in,” said Routley.

The B.C. Green Party said candidates for both Nanaimo and Nanaimo-North Cowichan will be nominated in the next four to eight weeks.

The B.C. Conservatives were contacted for comment, but did not respond in time for press.

Incumbent Parksville-Qualicum MLA and B.C. Liberal Michelle Stilwell is expected to be acclaimed as well.