Conservative candidate John Hirst campaigns

Campaign signs beging vandalized and stolen

0429 - The election campaign is plagued by vandalism, and that has Conservative campaign chaiman Doug Johnston up in arms. The John Hirst campaign had approximately 60 signs in the Rutherford Uplands area destroyed or stolen over night.

"This is becoming a regular thing", said Johnston. "We have put signs  on the corner of Vanderneuk and Rutherford, four times now and each time they are put up, they are stolen. He said NDP and Green Party signs were not touched.
"It is disappointing that individuals are not respecting the rule of law or that displaying campaign signs is part of our democratic process," he said.          

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Conservative candidate John Hirst talks about his qualifications and background.

Conservative candidate John Hirst discusses the future for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

Conservative candidate John Hirst discusses the future for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

MP Dan Albas campaigns with John Hirst

Okanagan member of Parliament Dan Albas campaigned with Conservative candidate John Hirst in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection on Wednesday.

Conservative candidate John Hirst talks environment

Conservative candidate John Hirst talks about protecting the environment during the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection on Wednesday.

Conservative candidate slams Chinook salmon closure

The Chinook fishing closure imposed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has wiggled into the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection campaign.

Conservative candidate John Hirst says the closure is not based on science. Nanaimo area anglers have no impact on the Chinook, but it will negatively impact Nanaimo-Ladysmith.  

Hirst said sport and commercial fishing contribute significantly to the economy on the west coast. It is the largest component of fisheries and employs more than 60 per cent of the jobs in that sector. 

“The restrictions placed upon this industry will ruin companies and destroy jobs”, said Hirst.

“The major problem for Chinook salmon is the over population of seals. First Nations leaders tell us the lack of hunting since the 1970s is an abnormality, as seals have been hunted for thousands of years,” Hirst added.

This has allowed the population to balloon from an estimated 8,600 to more than 100,000. These seals eat six times the number salmon compared to all fishing activities combined, he said. Seals have contributed to the decline of Southern Resident Killer Whales by us competing for their primary food source – Salmon.

“This heavy-handed measure by the DFO without consultation with all shareholders is a policy failure at the expense of the West Coast. It comes at a time when Nanaimo-Ladysmith is without a voice in Ottawa due to our previous MP's resignation”.

Many scientists, conservationists, fishermen and First Nation leaders have called for a cull of the seal population. Experts advise this is the quickest way to reverse declining Salmon stocks. Limited seal harvesting would not only open a new industry but would protect the important existing industries of sport and commercial fishing on the west coast. A seal cull would most effectively protect our Salmon stocks and our endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales.

Hirst said the Green Party opposes a seal cull and the Liberal Government has chosen this path that will hurt our industries and environment.

Click here to see Conservative candidate John Hirst on Facebook

John Hirst is a family man dedicated to improving the lives of others in the community

John and his sister treasure the time they had with their father, enjoying our environment.


John Hirst is no late-comer to Nanaimo; his family has been here for four generations, including his two young children.

His life has been one of hard work and sacrifice to improve the lives of those he cares about – family, friends, and community. For him, this as an opportunity to do more to make Nanaimo and Ladysmith a better place to live.

“It seems like the natural continuation of how I have already been involved in the community and wanting to give back,” he says. 

Putting his money where his mouth is, he has been a member of the Nanaimo Gyro Club, a service club focused on city parks and the Young Professionals of Nanaimo.

 John is proud to have been instrumental in the development of Linley Gyro Park and Groveland Gyro Park.

Hirst has a very personal dedication to mental health issues which cost his father’s life. John’s mother Brenda says the family decided early in their grief that they would talk about how and why he died. Jim was in his late 50s of a generation where men didn’t talk about mental health. 

“He was a loving, brilliant and talented man who struggled with his mental health and was good at hiding it because he felt shame. He died because he believed it was humiliating to be ill. He was much more than his illness. 

“We talk about mental health to shine a light on it so that some day all people can get help without the stigma,” Brenda says.

Being a member of Parliament brings challenges with a young family. The long-commute to and from Ottawa would, however, not be new. From 2007-2013, Hirst was a derrick hand in the oil fields, commuting to work in Alberta while completing his Business Administration degree with a major in Finance at Vancouver Island University. After graduating from VIU, he joined Sun Life Financial.

He started at Sun Life in 2013, and has move steadily up through various levels to where he is now the Manager, since November.

John’s wife Chrystal works at the employee-owned Harmac Pacific pulp mill.

John and Chrystal just had their second daughter, Sloan, early this year, joining their daughter Harper.

Chrystal’s family roots also go deep in Nanaimo. Her father, Darryl Kleisinger, is a long-time B.C. Ferries employee and well known in local sporting circles. Her uncle Terry Kleisinger was a goaltender for the Nanaimo Clippers in the late 1970s, and played several games with the New York Rangers.

Their mother, Joyce Kleisinger, was the long-time manager of Smitty’s Pancake House.

John pondered his best opportunity to serve to community and concluded the Conservative party has the best to offer.

Nanaimo needs a voice at the table in Ottawa

Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer and John Hirst.

Life has been good for John Hirst and his family, and he wants to repay that debt of gratitude to his community.

“It may sound trite, but our family was raised here and we will raise the next generation of our family here. Nanaimo-Ladysmith is a great place to live, but it’s not all it could be,” says Hirst.

Prior to the 2015 federal election, the Conservative government pledged $15 million to help launch a foot-passenger ferry service in Nanaimo. The Liberal government that followed has introduced record deficits to pay for infrastructure, but nothing for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, says Hirst. 

“That really reinforces the fact that we need a representative where decisions are made rather than in a back-bench minority party which has no direct influence,” he says.

He stresses the importance of having someone who is independent and not beholden to foreign special interest groups that fund job-killing agendas. The Rockefellers and the Tides Foundation should have no influence in our political parties. We’ve had a member of a minority party in Parliament for years, and what has the delivered for Nanaimo? Hirst asks. 

Nanaimo needs to move forward, he says. While other parties all seem to believe that big government can solve all our problems, it is individual effort through free enterprise that leads to success.

“For instance, everyone wants to see housing that everyone can afford, but our problem right now isn’t money as much as contractors working at capacity. They have to deal with a labour shortage and massive government red tape that lead to inflated prices.

“In Nanaimo we have a $32,352-a-year median pre-tax income, that’s not an income you can raise families on and buy houses,” he says. 

Hirst would be a fierce fighter for federal funding for Nanaimo-Ladysmith. Our area has been left behind, and we need a seat at the table in Ottawa, he says.

“Conservatives are the party of freedom. Freedom from big government that tells us what to do or believe and how to lives our lives. Conservatives are for free enterprise and free trade, that bring prosperity to our country. 

“We should be able to live with freedom from fear, and that we have the right to safe, peaceful lives protected by our laws and law enforcement. And we believe in free speech – divisive and identity-based politics and have no place in the Conservative party.”

He finds the federal government’s intrusive search into private bank accounts particularly concerning, especially with his work in the financial services sector.

“It will take hard work and a strong voice in Ottawa to help Nanaimo-Ladysmith reach its full potential, and I can be that voice,” he says.

He likes to quote former U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s summation of conservatism: “Stay off my back, and get out of my wallet.”

Conservatives' John Hirst promises to tackle crime

John Hirst

Crime rates have been increasing for months in cities like Nanaimo and Ladysmith. Conservatives are the only party that has a plan to tackle crime with a new A Safer Canada policy, says John Hirst, the party's candidate in the May 6 byelection.

The policy focusses on gun crime, gang violence, and ensuring criminals stay off the streets. 

“I have a two-year-old and a three-month old so I understand the concerns families face with crime in our community,” says Hirst. “With increasing crime rates, other parties have not tabled any plans to tackle this. It’s vital that Nanaimo-Ladysmith eleccts an MP with a plan to take on criminals and the crimes they commit in our community. 

Nanaimo’s over all crime stats for January and February are dismal:

  • Assaults are up 83% 
  • Possession of stolen property is up 193%
  • Drug trafficking is up 542%
  • Bike thefts are up 22% 
  • Break-and-enters to businesses are up 50%

There is an obvious need for the community to do something and the federal government plays a role in that.

“There is something we can do about it. I am not going to sit around and ignore the obvious issues in our community” said Hirst. “Our plan makes prison time more meaningful; it provides more resources to police and provides new funding to fight gangs.” 

Scheer rallies Conservatives in Nanaimo byection stop

Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer was in Nanimo Sunday to rally local supporters in the May 6 byelection campaign. Gas prices and carbon taxes were top of mind for the crowd

Campaign manager reports stolen and damaged signs

Doug Johnston, Campaign Chair for the John Hirst Conservative campaign has reported numerous instances of their signs being stolen or knocked down over the past 48 hours.

Johnston said that the John Hirst Conservative campaign is looking forward to a spirited but respectful campaign. “It is very disappointing that supporters of the other parties feel the need to steal or damage our election signs”, Johnston said.

He also reminded that stealing or damaging signs is a criminal offence and charges could be laid.


Campaign Office
195 commercial (Upstairs) 

Conservative Party of Canada
Email is 
phone 778-674-4778. 

Campaign manager:
Doug Johnston

Conservatives elect new board of directors

Nanaimo-Ladysmith Conservatives have a new board of directors. This new board includes new and younger faces with more women than in recent years. The board is working to get John Hirst elected in the federal by-election.

Members of the new board are Daniel Martinez, Tasha Martinez, Ken Oakes, Diane Choptiany, Beverly Barton, Doug Johnston, Gary Cohoe, John Hirst, Dallas Macorqodale, Gloria Saunders, Zachary Authier, Greg Revell, Carl Kingston, Jeremy Lyster, Mary McGreer, Jason Stajkowski, Brenda Hirst.

Hirst said the by-election is about giving residents a say in the handling of the SNC Lavalin scandal. The message he’s at the doorsteps is that they expect more out of Ottawa. 


Hirst wants to send a strong message to Trudeau on May 6

John Hirst

0324 - Conservative candidate John Hirst sees the byelection as an opportunity to deliver a strong message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on his handling of the SNC Lavalin scandal.

“This by election gives Nanaimo-Ladysmith the opportunity to send a big message to Justin Trudeau,” said Hirst.

“Since day one, Andrew Scheer and the Conservative team has kept Mr. Trudeau’s feet to the fire, demanding answers for the numerous questions Canadians have about what happened. While Trudeau has resisted, including denying his former Attorney General the ability to speak fully to the issue, Conservatives have shown we will not rest until Canadians get the answers they rightfully deserve. I will proudly represent BC and the island in Ottawa, and I ask the people of Nanaimo-Ladysmith to lend me their support . . .”

Hirst is a businessman and committed family man with deep roots in Nanaimo.

The manager of the Sun Life Financial office in Nanaimo, works with residents every day and understands the challenges they face. 

Before joining Sun Life, John worked in the resource industry where he came to learn the importance of balancing the development of Canadian resources with the protection of our natural environment.

Outside of the office Hirst is a committed member of the local community. He is the President of the Nanaimo Gyro Club where he leads a team of respected business and community focused volunteers who regularly make significant contributions to our city. He is also a member of the Young Professionals of Nanaimo.