Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson announces that she will be pursuing the Nanaimo MLA seat in a coming byelection. NEWS BULLETIN file photo

Federal MP will to try to hold Island riding in coming MLA byelection

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson will seek provincial NDP nomination in coming byelection

Nanaimo’s MP is going to try to make a move to provincial politics.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson announced this morning that she will be pursuing the NDP nomination to try for the Nanaimo MLA seat to be vacated by Leonard Krog, who was elected this past weekend as Nanaimo’s next mayor.

“I love the job I have now. I love being Nanaimo Ladysmith’s member of Parliament. I’m proud that Jagmeet Singh is the leader of the federal NDP. I love dearly and deeply admire my federal caucus members,” Malcolmson said. “But the environmental and the housing crises that we see right here in our community cannot wait until the next federal election.”

Malcolmson said she looks forward to the opportunity to join Premier John Horgan’s “progressive government and implement solutions on the ground now.”

Horgan was on hand for this morning’s announcement and said “Sheila is perfectly suited to step into Leonard’s formidable shoes.”

“She will continue her work to fight for the coast and the people who live here,” the premier said.

Earlier this week, Horgan told reporters in the B.C. legislature that a new MLA would be in place in Nanaimo in time for budget deliberations in February. He did not reveal a date for a byelection at today’s announcement.

“I’m confident this can be done without triggering a federal byelection and without breaking constituents’ service here in the riding,” Malcolmson said.

B.C. Liberals leader Andrew Wilkinson released a statement this morning saying his party is looking forward to an “energetic byelection campaign.”

“Nanaimo voters have loyally supported the NDP for years – yet on John Horgan’s watch, their local MLA was shut out of cabinet. In the upcoming by-election, the people of Nanaimo have an opportunity to elect an MLA who will be a true champion for the community’s needs and priorities,” Wilkinson said.

Malcolmson is a first-term member of Parliament, elected in 2015 with 33.2 per cent of the vote. Her 23,651 vote count was about 7,000 votes ahead of two of the runners-up, Liberal candidate Tim Tessier and Conservative candidate Mark MacDonald.

More to come.

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