Sheila Malcolmson, a former chairwoman of the Islands Trust Council, rode the NDP’s orange wave on the Island to victory in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
Malcolmson, who edged Conservative candidate Mark MacDonald and Liberal Tim Tessier, credited a “huge volunteer effort” for her victory in a new riding that encompasses parts of former Conservative and NDP strongholds.
“I’m proud of the work that NDP did as the official opposition in holding the Conservative government to account, and I think that has to do with how soundly voters across the country have removed the Conservatives from power,” she said.
“So I’m heaving a sigh of relief on that.”
Tessier, a real estate agent, called it a “remarkable” result for Canada.
“I think tomorrow the sun is going to come out and we’ve got a whole better kind of Canada coming forward,” he said.
MacDonald, a former managing editor of the Nanaimo Daily News, blamed the “politics of hatred” for the defeat of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
“It’s a national campaign and it was about the leadership,” he said. “I mean, I think Harper did a tremendous job as a prime minister, but it got very, very personal, and people didn’t like him. They don’t know him, but they don’t like him.”
He compared the attacks on Harper to the NDP’s earlier criticism of former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell. “And the NDP did it again,” he said. “ ‘We hate Harper.’ ‘Why?’ ‘We just hate him.’ And it resonated with people . . .”
Malcolmson rejected that assessment.
“There’s not a shred of evidence for that,” she said. “I’m extremely proud of the very positive campaign that our team ran. We ran on a constructive vision of what we have in mind for the country.”
The riding includes a chunk of the Nanaimo-Cowichan riding won by veteran NDP MP Jean Crowder in 2011, as well as sections of Nanaimo-Alberni held by ex-Conservative MP James Lunney, who later moved to sit as an Independent. Neither chose to run again.
with 245 of 254 polls reporting
Sheila Malcolmson, NDP — 22,106
Tim Tessier, Liberal — 15,836
Mark MacDonald, Conservative — 15,602
Paul Manly, Green — 13,163
Jack East, Marxist-Leninist — 119