One more candidate signed up just under the wire, so there will be nine names on the ballot this month in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
Echo White, an independent, was the final candidate confirmed by Elections Canada this week.
White lived in Ottawa for 20 years before moving to Nanaimo two years ago with her family. She said the Harbour City is a beautiful place, with developed transportation and infrastructure, good people, talented people, and has been warm and welcoming.
“I fell in love with this city, so I wanted to be part of this great city and lift it up to a higher level … and my background can definitely help to make this happen,” she said.
White has a master’s in business administration, has worked for the federal government in Ottawa in the labour department, and has been an investment consultant and web entrepreneur.
She said she felt a “calling from God” to move to the other side of the country.
“That’s my personal story, but once we stepped into Nanaimo we realized that this is a paradise compared to Ottawa,” White said.
That said, she will be campaigning to get back there as a member of Parliament. She said the byelection outcome, with the Green Party’s Paul Manly elected after years of NDP representation, shows a desire for change in the riding.
“There are so many concerns, frustrations and pain and so my priority is to make sure all of the voices from this region can be heard in the Parliament,” White said. “Sometimes I may have opportunity to push to get more beneficial policies for this region, sometimes I may not, but still I want to bring out the voice for the local people.”
Health care, housing, education and First Nations relations were some priorities she mentioned. She wishes to study Habitat for Humanity’s model to find ways to create more affordable housing, and said health care should be expanded to provide dental coverage, for example.
“These are very basic needs,” White said. “The government, they collect so much tax but cannot even cover people’s basic needs.”
She predicts a minority government and a fragmented House of Commons and said an independent MP would have more bargaining power in that scenario. She said people in Nanaimo-Ladysmith have had enough of empty promises.
“It has to be done – execution – at this point,” she said. “I have a strong background. I’m a promise-keeper.”
The federal election is Oct. 21, with advance voting from Oct. 11-14.
Other Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates include: Bob Chamberlin, NDP; James Chumsa, Communist Party; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; John Hirst, Conservatives; Paul Manly, Green Party; Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party; Geoff Stoneman, independent.