All eyes on Nanaimo ahead of crucial B.C. byelection

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All political eyes will be on Nanaimo, B.C., on Wednesday when a crucial byelection will test Premier John Horgan’s minority NDP government and could tip the balance of power in the legislature.

The opposition Liberals currently hold 42 seats, just shy of the 43 held jointly by the NDP and the Green Party. The Greens agreed to support the NDP after the provincial election of 2017, allowing them to form a minority government.

If the Liberals win Nanaimo and bring the count to a 43-43 tie, Speaker Darryl Plecas, an independent, would have to cast any tie-breaking votes.

The byelection was called to replace Leonard Krog, the five-term NDP member of the legislature who resigned his seat last year after being elected mayor of Nanaimo. 

Meet the candidates

Six candidates are vying for the seat. Sheila Malcolmson, the outgoing NDP MP for Nanaimo–Ladysmith, is hoping to switch to provincial politics, and was acclaimed as the party’s candidate for the Nanaimo byelection in December.

The Liberals have nominated well-known Nanaimo businessman Tony Harris, while Justin Greenwood, who has a background in business administration and real estate marketing, is running for the Conservatives. 

The B.C. Greens selected Michele Ney, a teacher and daughter of former Nanaimo mayor and provincial MLA Frank Ney. Robin Richardson of the Vancouver Island Party and Libertarian Bill Walker are the final two candidates.

For full profiles of the six candidates, click here.

The NDP has held the riding, where there are 45,359 registered voters, for 13 of the last 15 elections.

The January vote means the winner will be sit in the legislature for the winter session and the provincial budget, which will be announced in February.

Residents of the riding have said housing affordability and health care will be top of mind as they head to the polls. 

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She raced to help a victim in a serious Nanaimo car crash — then someone stole her phone

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A Nanaimo woman is in disbelief after a callous thief made off with her cell phone while she was rendering aid to someone involved in a serious car crash.

It happened on Saturday around 8 p.m. Anne Marie Behan was wrapping Christmas presents in her living room near Third Street and Wakesiah Avenue when she heard a loud collision outside her home.

She heard kids screaming, so she ran out into the street in her flip flops to see if she could help — taking her phone and not much else.

Once outside, she saw that several vehicles had been involved in the crash, including a white SUV with an unconscious boy in the back seat.


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Behan was worried the boy’s neck might have been broken and she noticed he was breathing irregularly.

“I put my phone down on the hood of the truck, I said we can’t move this boy we just have to hold him still,” she said.

Behan spent about 10 minutes holding the boy’s head steady until she was relieved by paramedics arriving at the scene.

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“And when I backed up I went to grab my phone and it was gone,” she said.

“I thought, ‘Nobody would have taken my phone right now, there’s no way, somebody picked it up for me.’”

But the phone really was gone.


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Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said the going theory is that someone took advantage of the chaos to pilfer the device.

“When the dust had settled, somebody had taken the phone. She heard from somebody at the scene they saw a guy snooping around the car, so he may have taken it,” he said.

“She is absolutely devastated, the phone is her lifeline. She uses it to contact her daughter and contact her work. And it’s not much of a phone, but it’s hers. And she desperately wants it back.”

Behan said all she wants is for someone to return the phone — a black LG Shilo ← and she doesn’t care who took it or why.

She’s using a borrowed device in the meantime.

As for the crash, Behan said the story has a silver lining.

She spoke with the boy in the back seat recently, and said that he’s doing OK, even if he doesn’t remember anything about the crash.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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