The chances of BC residents heading back to the polls earlier than expected took a huge blow as former Federal MP Sheila Malcomson won the Nanaimo by-election last night to keep the NDP’s thin lead (with the Green Party’s help) in Victoria.
Malcomson won with 49% of the vote defeating BC Liberal Candidate Tony Harris who collected just 40% of the vote.
While the Liberals are disappointed they missed a chance to make the legislature even more interesting, Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad told My Nechako Valley Now this morning they knew to win that seat was an uphill battle.
“The reality is we have won that riding twice in the last 50 years. We knew we were in for a tough race but I got to tell you, Tony ran a great campaign, there is a lot of people in Nanaimo that came out and our numbers were up, we are encouraged by that.”
“We came out, we had a great candidate and I can’t think of a better candidate to run for us in Nanaimo. Tony truly has a great heart and continue to have a great heart for his community and for us, this helped to bring us together and it helped to show that we were ready to fight.”
Rustad believes the biggest losers at the conclusion of the By-election turned out to be the BC Greens after candidate Michele Ney, the daughter of longtime Nanaimo mayor and MLA Frank Ney only recorded 7.38% of the popular vote, placing a distant third in the race.
This could make for some interesting times for the Greens in the months ahead.
“I think the Green Party has to figure out who they are and that’s going to be a challenge for them. Personally, I think we’ve got a 40 or 50% chance of heading back to the polls this spring and an over 50% chance of that happening in the spring of 2020.”
The Nechako Lakes representative is of the belief the party sees the light at the end of the tunnel even though the end result on Vancouver Island didn’t go their way.
“For us, this was a good building exercise as I think this is going to serve us well going into the general election but I think the real story here is that the Green Party vote has collapsed and it shows the party they are going to have to retreat along with the NDP, which could make for some interesting days ahead.”
Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris also spoke with My Nechako Valley Now on the tough result.
He believes the historical voting patterns of residents is what’s keeping residents voting orange instead of blue, not the actual work being done by the current government.
“People have voted the same way, families have voted the same way for generations and they are going to continue to do that and this is a big part because there is not much we can see that the government has done in that community and is certainly not based on the outcomes we have seen recently.”
Over 21-thousand votes were cast during the by-election.