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BC NDP holds on to seat after tense by-election in Nanaimo

Last Updated Jan 31, 2019 at 9:30 am PDT

Summary

BC NDP's Sheila Malcolmson wins Nanaimo's by-election

B.C. Liberals candidate Tony Harris came in second place in the race

NANAIMO (NEWS 1130) – It’s a massive win for the BC NDP in Nanaimo. The party has managed to hold on to power after a high-stakes by-election in Nanaimo.

Sheila Malcolmson has been elected as MLA in the Nanaimo riding, taking home around 49 per cent of votes. BC Liberals candidate Tony Harris finished in second with about 40 per cent of the votes.

RELATED: A ‘highly charged’ atmosphere in Nanaimo on byelection day

The party’s slim majority was challenged when former NDP MLA Leonard Krog stepped down after a successful run for mayor in Nanaimo. He had been the MLA since 2005. The region is considered to be an NDP stronghold.

A win for the BC Liberals would have given the party 43 seats, tying with the NDP-Green alliance and potentially making legislation difficult to pass, leaving Speaker Daryl Plecas to cast a deciding vote in ties in the house.

Earlier Wednesday evening, Premier John Horgan said if the Liberals had won, he will keep governing the same way.

“We’ll carry on as we have every single day. My view has always been, this is a real opportunity and a blessing, and a privilege to have the chance to be the Premier of British Columbia,” he told NEWS 1130.

RELATED: All eyes on Nanaimo today; by-election could affect all of B.C.

 

Horgan said even if the Liberals had won, he would not have been worried about moving ahead with his mandate.

An unusually high 20 per cent of eligible votes were returned in early ballots. Results will be finalized after all the ballots have been counted, including absentee, advance and special voting ballots.

Low Green support could hurt party

While the NDP came out on top, the BC Greens took a big hit, only snagging seven per cent of the vote.

University of the Fraser Valley political science professor Hamish Telford says that shortcoming could end up hurting the Green’s standing at the legislature.

“They could have suggested to John Horgan ‘We are on the move. We are a threat to you.’ But that threat doesn’t really exist. John Horgan may be emboldened to push harder on some legislation,” he said.

When it comes to the abysmal result, Telford links it back to vote splitting.

He says with the future of the government at stake, voters weren’t throwing support behind third parties.

With files from Taran Parmar, Toby Kerr and Denise Wong