Bob Chamberlin is the NDP candidate for Nanaimo-Ladysmith. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Chamberlin wins NDP nomination for Nanaimo-Ladysmith

NDP held nomination meeting in Nanaimo on Saturday

The NDP was the last party to name its Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection candidate, but hopes Bob Chamberlin is first after voting closes on May 6.

Chamberlin, chief councillor of the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation and vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, was selected as NDP candidate Saturday at Vancouver Island Conference Centre. He received 182 votes, while Lauren Semple received 128, Maeve O’Byrne 21 and Fred Statham 11.

After being announced as the candidate, Chamberlin told the News Bulletin that one of his priorities is a subject that has been making headlines for close to a year with the advent of the tent city – housing.

“It’s critical, it’s a basic human right and right now there is a housing crisis, not only in Nanaimo, but across the country,” said Chamberlin. “Pharmacare, also something that’s very critical for all Canadians and I’m a bit amazed at the fact that we can have as wealthy a country as we do and we still have people that are falling through the cracks, in terms of being able to have health care and choosing medicines over food, which we know is critical for survival.”

With the federal election scheduled for this October, the May 6 byelection, January’s provincial byelection and last October’s municipals, it will represent four times in the last year that Nanaimo residents will be heading to the polls. Chamberlin said it is the governing party’s right to do so.

“Well, regardless of my thoughts on how practical it is, it is, and that’s the thing,” said Chamberlin. “So I’m very grateful today to be put forward … I’m overwhelmed with the amount of support that has been demonstrated immediately upon the outcome of today’s vote. We are going to have a very strong NDP team come together to ensure that the voices of Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding are going to be well represented through the skills and abilities that I possess.”

Chamberlin said campaigning will begin almost immediately.

“First order of business tomorrow is going to be a very large cup of coffee and then we’re going to be attending [a campaign gathering] and then it’s going to be about getting out and meeting the constituents all across the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding,” said Chamberlin.

The byelection became necessary after Sheila Malcolmson, former Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP, resigned and successfully ran as the B.C. NDP Nanaimo riding MLA candidate.

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A nomination party was originally scheduled for early to mid May, but was expedited after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the May 6 byelection date.

Among other byelection candidates for Nanaimo-Ladysmith are John Hirst, Conservative Party of Canada; Paul Manly, Green Party; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; and Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada.

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