Nanaimo, BC – The ruling NDP government in British Columbia remains in power thanks to a by-election win by former NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson this week in the riding of Nanaimo.
It means Premier John Horgan’s minority government and its Green Party allies will continue to hold 44 seats, to the Liberals’42 with the speaker of the house MLA Daryl Plecas sitting as an independent. Malcolmson captured 49 per cent of the popular vote while the Liberal Tony Harris had just under 41 per cent. Malcolmson takes over the seat from long-time MLA Leonard Krog, who resigned last fall to run for mayor of Nanaimo.
“This by-election was crucial for Organized Labour,” explained IAM District Lodge 250 Directing Business Representative Walter Gerlach. “If the Liberals would have won, there would be a tie in the house and any vote on new legislation would depend on the Speaker of the House who is an independent. Our members worked hard to get the NDP elected in 2017 and we gave that support because of their platform to bring changes to the Labour Code and the Workers Compensation Board.” Both issues are expected to be part of new legislation in the upcoming spring session of the legislature.
Once again, the IAM resorted to the tried and true method of member engagement to increase voter turnout. “I told our members when I spoke to them that the entire province was watching Nanaimo, I stressed that every vote was important,” explained IAM District Lodge 250 Business Representative John Humphrey. “It was an education process for some of our younger members. I told them our province is in the process of establishing a $15 per hour minimum wage because of the efforts of labour. Our efforts do not benefit just union members, our efforts bring up everyone’s standards, it’s part of what we do. It payed off because our member turnout at the polls was excellent, the face-to-face conversations produced positive results.”
The NDP has won 14 of the last 16 elections in Nanaimo, going back to 1963.