Nanaimo’s new MP is hopeful her party will be able to work together with a majority Liberal government, for Vancouver Island and for Canada.
Sheila Malcolmson of the New Democratic Party was elected in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding on Monday with 33.1 per cent of the popular vote and a margin of victory of 6,500 votes.
Malcolmson pointed out that in the past, New Democrats and Liberals co-operated on initiatives such as public health care, old-age security and the Canada Pension Plan.
“We want a lot of the same things and I’m confident we’ll be able to work together,” Malcolmson said. “I’m taking [Prime Minister designate Justin] Trudeau at his word that he wants the best for the whole country and he wants to represent all Canadians.”
Malcolmson played a part, this election, in establishing something of an NDP bastion on Vancouver Island, where the party had candidates elected in six of seven ridings.
“We’ll be able to work cohesively together and be able to bring to the Liberal cabinet some of the really good and inspiring stories from Vancouver Island that I think the rest of the country needs,” she said. “A great example of that is the work that’s already happening in our communities around nation-to-nation building and recovery from the residential school experience and indigenous government.”
Other issues that matter to the Island include renewing and upholding the softwood lumber agreement, and climate change, including its impacts on the salmon industry.
“There’s a couple of really big-picture federal responsibilities which honestly, neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives have had leadership on over the decades,” she said.
One of the Liberal Party’s central planks in the election campaign was infrastructure spending, and Malcolmson said it’s her role as a responsible and effective MP to advocate for her riding’s fair share.
“We’ll be bringing forward a positive vision around how good infrastructure investments can be for partnerships with our local governments and for getting people to work in the communities, as well,” she said.
Her party will also try to hold the Liberal government accountable on its promise of electoral reform.
“We will continue to bring forward the positive arguments around how much better for the country it would be to have a voting system where every vote counts,” Malcolmson said. “It gets higher voter turnout, it elects more women and has more diversity, more youth engagement and results in more stable policies that really are for the common good and are more long-lasting as a result.”
Some of the work started immediately after the election, as Malcolmson spent much of the next day on the phone with her Island NDP colleagues. The group will try to “get into a local huddle,” she said, whether on the Island or in Ottawa.
“We’re very excited about what we’re going to be able to do as a Vancouver Island team…” Malcolmson said. “We’re going to be a really positive and strong voice for our Vancouver Island communities, but that is going to be something that echoes in the country, as well. It has to.”
For more election coverage, including responses from other candidates, please visit www.nanaimobulletin.com/news.