Robin Richardson, founder and leader of the Vancouver Island Party, is vying to become Nanaimo’s next MLA. His party’s aim is to separate Vancouver Island from British Columbia. (NICHOLAS PESCOD/NEWS BULLETIN)

Robin Richardson, founder and leader of the Vancouver Island Party, is vying to become Nanaimo’s next MLA. His party’s aim is to separate Vancouver Island from British Columbia. (NICHOLAS PESCOD/NEWS BULLETIN)

Provincial byelection candidate wants to see Vancouver Island separate from B.C.

Robin Richardson, leader of the Vancouver Island Party, announces intention to run for Nanaimo MLA

A politician hoping to separate Vancouver Island from British Columbia wants to be Nanaimo’s MLA.

Robin Richardson, the founder and leader of the Vancouver Island Party, announced that he will be a candidate in the upcoming byelection in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo’s riding will be vacated by MLA Leonard Krog, who is now the mayor of Nanaimo. The B.C. Liberals have announced Tony Harris as their intended candidate in the byelection, while Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s current MP, is seeking the NDP’s nomination.

Speaking to the News Bulletin on Wednesday, Richardson said his party’s platform is to see Vancouver Island become its own province. He said with a population of 800,000-plus and years of being neglected, Vancouver Island is better off on its own.

“We would be at least 10 times better off. We have been neglected by both federal and provincial governments over the years, not just recently, but since confederation,” said Richardson, who lives in both Nanaimo and Victoria.

The Harvard University-educated economist and former provincial politician in Ontario said people on the Island are tired of being ignored from all levels of government.

“We have almost 17 per cent of the population of British Columbia, but we might only get about two or three per cent of the money that comes from Ottawa,” he said.

Vancouver Island Party’s platform includes ensuring balanced budgets for the province of Vancouver Island, upgrading the E&N railway into a commuter rail system from Victoria to Courtenay, free tuition for all Island students attending Vancouver Island University provided their family income is less than $90,000 a year, building light-rail transit systems across the Island and building a floating bridge between Mill Bay and Brentwood Bay. The party would also eliminate fares on B.C. Ferries for all passengers and reduce vehicle fares, according to Richardson. He said the party would also eliminate the speculation tax imposed on Nanaimo and have lower taxes than British Columbia and Washington state in order to attract businesses.

“Taxes are too high and what we would do … is make sure that our corporate and personal taxes are competitive,” he said. “One thing we would look at is flat income taxes instead of a progressive income tax. That has been tried in other places and it works.”

Should his party get elected, Richardson said he would request a referendum on the question of separation. If successful, his party would then begin negotiations with Ottawa to join confederation, adding that the separation process wouldn’t cost much money.

Richardson envisions 28 ridings on Vancouver Island and said he’d prefer to see mixed-member proportional representation, which would give each riding two members. He said the capital of Vancouver Island would be in Nanaimo for the first two years, before moving to Victoria.

“We would give [the B.C .government] two years to move out of Victoria and then we would move into the legislature,” he said. “Nanaimo would be the capital for the first two years until we get our ducks in a row.”

Richardson said he wants the upcoming referendum to be all about separating Vancouver Island from the province and believes he can attract “soft” Liberals, New Democrats, Greens and Conservative voters. He said he doesn’t think he needs a lot of votes to win in the byelection because there will be plenty of vote splitting.

“I figure if I get 9,000 votes I can win,” Richardson said.







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

It’s been almost a year since the last public performance inside the Chemainus Theatre. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lead donors pledge $60,000 in matching campaign at the Chemainus Theatre

Perrys, Hiltons and Duncan Iron Works help to Bridge the Gap during COVID shutdown

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Ladysmith’s famous Festival of Lights decorations are still up as of March 1, 2021. (Cole Schisler photo)
PHOTOS: It’s still looking a lot like Christmas in Ladysmith

Festival of Lights volunteers cannot remove the holiday roof top displays due to COVID-19

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home in Cedar destroyed by fire

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong winds Sunday

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

Most Read