Nanaimo-Ladysmith has gone Green.
Green Party of Canada candidate Paul Manly will be the next member of Parliament in the riding. With 99 per cent of polls reporting, Manly had 37.3 per cent of the vote. The Conservatives were at 24.8 per cent and the NDP at 23.1 per cent. The Liberals were fourth with 11.0 per cent.
“There was such an amazing team. There was such a community spirit behind this campaign. It was a positive campaign,” Manly said after delivering his victory speech at Nanaimo’s Cavallotti Lodge.
He said he thought he had a good shot at getting elected.
“I could feel in this community that there was a real desire for change,” Manly said. “A lot of people in this community know me very well and they know about the work I’ve done in this community for decades. They know I’m dedicated to working with people and that they can count on me. They can trust me, so I just felt that groundswell coming my way.”
Manly is just the second-ever Green Party member of Parliament elected to the House of Commons, where he will join leader Elizabeth May. Manly joked that he looks forward to bringing gender parity to the party.
He had previously run for the Greens in the 2015 general election.
“We had the closest four-way race here in Canada, we gave it all we got and we didn’t win,” Manly said. “But a couple months after that election I got a call from my oldest daughter and she told me that I was going to be a grandfather. And to me that meant that I had to work and double down and work harder because the future was personal again to me. It was personal when my daughters were born and now that I have a grandchild I know that I have to fight for that future for that child.”
John Hirst, Conservative candidate, said his campaign’s ground game was strong, but added there is always room for improvement.
“You know, it was my first foray into politics along with a lot of our staff, a lot of our team. Now that we’ve all been seasoned, we’re really looking forward to the rematch,” he said.
Hirst, who confirmed he will seek the nomination again in the fall, said he looked at the glass as half full.
“I definitely look at this as half full. I mean, the old story of the NDP always wins in Nanaimo is absolutely not true,” said Hirst. “We had a really strong showing, it’s something I feel we can build off of. I don’t think the Greens can repeat their performance in October and I’m excited.”
Bob Chamberlin of the NDP congratulated Manly on his victory and said he was disappointed. He said the loss wasn’t what the NDP were expecting but that the party is a workers’ party and will rebound.
“This is not the result we wanted, this is true,” he said, adding “we have some work to do and I don’t know NDP people that are afraid of hard work. I know NDP people know how to do hard work because we are the backbone of the country. We are the workers. We are the middle class, we are the majority and I think that is what makes corporations and other governments afraid because we have a message of clarity.”
Speaking to the News Bulletin afterward, Chamberlin jokingly said the turning point in the election was when the votes were being counted. He said he isn’t sure what went wrong during his campaign, but that the analysis is for the pundits.
“It is so hard to say. I’m a candidate and I went out and did the campaign and I met many wonderful voters in this riding and I was really happy to hear the concerns they have and they matched the NDP platform,” Chamberlin said. “I guess everybody else what will take a look at what they mean but those are for the pundits.”
Chamberlin did not rule out nor confirm whether he would seek the NDP nomination in October.
A social media post from the Green Party of Canada noted that “Greens are taking votes away from the NDP and the Liberals. This is a historic moment.”
B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver congratulated Manly on winning the byelection.
“Congrats to Paul Manly for winning 2019 Nanaimo byelection. I am absolutely thrilled to have another colleague in Ottawa with shared values. The B.C. Greens extend our heartfelt congratulations to you and your team and we look forward to working with you in the years ahead,” Weaver posted on Twitter.
251 out of 254 polls have reported:
- Paul Manly, Green Party, 15,188 votes, 37.3 per cent
- John Hirst, Conservative Party, 10,093 votes, 24.8 per cent
- Bob Chamberlin, NDP, 9,392 votes, 23.1 per cent
- Michelle Corfield, Liberals, 4,478 votes, 11.0 per cent
- Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada, 1,246 votes, 3.1 per cent
- Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party, 248 votes, 0.6 per cent
- Jakob Letkemann, National Citizens Alliance, 66 votes, 0.2 per cent
— Nicholas M Pescod (@npescod) May 7, 2019
Caught Green Party candidate Paul Manly setting up lighting gear for the Green Party election party at Cavalloti Lodge in Nanaimo tonight. One way or another he's heading back east after tonight's election. #Nanaimo #ByElection @NanaimoBulletin pic.twitter.com/O9Vv0hwuzb
— Chris Bush (@ChrisBushphotog) May 7, 2019
Voters in the riding were electing an MP to replace Sheila Malcolmson, who resigned at the beginning of January and successfully ran for Nanaimo MLA that month.
For links to previous byelection coverage in the Nanaimo News Bulletin, click here.
In the 2015 federal election, Malcolmson and the NDP won the seat with 33.2 per cent of the vote. Tim Tessier representing the Liberal Party was second at 23.5 per cent, Mark MacDonald of the Conservatives was third at 23.4 per cent and Manly claimed 19.8 per cent.