The scenario has changed,
expect a federal byelection
Earlier assumptions that
Prime Minister Trudeau would not call a byelection in Nanaimo Ladysmith since the federal election is in October have been swept away. The nomination of Michelle Corfield as the candidate for the Federal Liberals casts a whole new light on the political spectrum,
making it likely that we’ll be getting a date soon.
This riding became vacant when Sheila Malcolmson stepped down to run for the NDP in a provincial byelection, which she won.
It really was not that far fetched to think we’d be saved
having another two elections this year – a byelection and the October general election. There is really no rush to have an election here because one seat in Parliament either way cannot threaten the Liberal government. The only argument is that we’re
not represented in Parliament at present.
On the other hand, we’re pretty experienced by now when you count last October’s civic election, the provincial byelection and now the federal byelection and the general election after that. Hopefully
nobody creates a vacancy on city council or the school board in the meantime.
Corfield has established an excellent portfolio as a director and chairman of the Nanaimo Port Authority. She does not have to resign, she can take a leave of absence from
that role, as have other directors in the past. Her bio has numerous other notable achievements to place before the voters.
The Liberals control the script on when to drop the writ, so nominating their candidate at this time pretty well signals a byelection
in the near future. If there was any further confirmation needed, the first public opinion polls began on Sunday when we were asked, “If there were an election today, which party would you vote for”? The first choice trotted out was the Liberal
party with the others following.
With their candidate now confirmed, the Liberals are as ready as they’ll get. But so are two other main parties – The Greens with Paul Manly and the Conservatives with John Hirst. No word from the NDP to
date. Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada has named former school board candidate Jennifer Clarke as its candidate.
Looking back at the 2014 general election, with revised electoral district boundaries, the NDP took 23,651 votes
in winning it, even while getting 12 per cent fewer votes than in 2011. Malcolmson winning was not a real surprise, it was three other candidates who achieved what many thought was unexpected. Manly built the Green Party support to almost triple from the 2011
election, a better than 12-per-cent increase. That matched the NDP’12-per-cent loss of support while still winning.
Liberal Tim Tessier was a surprise, gaining almost 17 per cent, virtually the same as what Mark MacDonald lost for the Conservatives
while finishing third.
Those comparisons were adjusted to allow for the boundary changes.
Tessier was unknown when he ran for the Liberals, Corfield is not unknown. Manly jumped from seven per cent in 2011 to almost 20 per cent in 2014. Depending
on who the NDP candidate will be, it could be an interesting race.
Corfield and Manly are well known in the electoral district, both representing the parties that engineered the biggest gains in the last election. Hirst has a big task at hand.
up for putting up election signs before the end of May? You may well get your opportunity.