Green Party wins byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, CBC projects

Green Party wins byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, CBC projects

Green Party candidate Paul Manly will be the winner tonight in the federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, CBC News projects.

Manly is the second Green candidate elected to a federal seat after Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who has been the sole Green MP in the House of Commons since 2011.

With 85 per cent of polls reporting two hours after voting closed, Manly had 37 per cent of the vote.

His victory comes less than six months before October’s general election.

In a written statement released shortly after results were announced, the Green Party of Canada said the win “hailed the dawn of a new era in federal politics,” and noted the riding had traditionally been an NDP stronghold.

May thanked voters in a statement, writing “it is brave to vote for real change.” 

Manly, who previously captured 20 per cent of the vote in the same riding in 2015, wrote that he “can’t wait to hit the ground running in Ottawa.”

“I will join Elizabeth May in Parliament with [constituents’] concerns front and centre in my mind. I will work hard every day for the next five months to deliver for them.” 

B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver also issued a statement, calling Manly an “extraordinary colleague” for May in Ottawa.

“Whether it is the changing economy, widening income inequality, the housing crisis, or the climate disaster, Greens across the country have become important contributors in the political landscape,” the statement read in part.

New riding

The last of four byelections held in 2019, the Nanaimo-Ladysmith race was largely seen as a litmus test for the federal election in October.

The contested seat has been vacant since early January, when the NDP’s Sheila Malcolmson stepped down for a successful run at provincial politics.

At a viewing party, NDP candidate Bob Chamberlin told a thinning crowd “there’s still the NDP in this town.”

“This turnout isn’t the outcome we were hoping for … but we have a lot to be proud of as NDP tonight,” he said.

People leave a polling station before the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection on Vancouver Island. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

Nanaimo–Ladysmith was created in 2012 when the boundaries of two ridings — one encompassing the community of Alberni and the other Cowichan — were redrawn.

The two ridings were solidly Conservative and NDP, respectively, meaning the new riding had strong bases for two parties on opposing ends of the political spectrum.

Macolmson took the riding by 10 points in the 2015 election, but the Liberals and Conservatives also put up strong and nearly identical showings at around 23 per cent of the vote.