MP Malcolmson to run for provincial seat in Nanaimo by-election

John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson

The political shake-up continues in Nanaimo.

New Democrat MP Sheila Malcolmson is leaving her federal post to run for the BC NDP. She'll try to replace Leonard Krog as MLA, who was recently elected mayor of Nanaimo.

Premier John Horgan made the announcement at the Vancouver Island Economic Summit in Nanaimo.

"I was trying to think of who could be the most qualified, most able, most capable person to step into those shoes. I was so pleased that when I asked Sheila Malcolmson and she said yes."

The departure from the federal party immediately brought up questions about whether it has anything to do with Jagmeet Singh and concerns about his leadership. Malcolmson told reporters "not at all."

"In the federal caucus we're doing really good work as the progressive opposition. I'm really proud that Jagmeet is our leader and I support him absolutely. The only thing that is pulling me here is the ability right now in this next year to implement solutions, whether it's affordable housing, whether it's justice, whether it's environmental protection," said Malcolmson.

Horgan says he spoke with his federal counterpart before making the announcement, "he knows full well that Sheila's participation in our government strengthens the NDP, not just here in British Columbia, but accross the country."

It's the second time a BC area MP has jumped ship from the federal New Democrats. Former Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart also left the caucus recently and was elected as mayor of Vancouver.

Horgan also congratulated Krog on his mayoral win, saying he looks forward to working closely with him in his new role. Krog blessed Malcolmson's bid, "I'm more than satisfied that Shiela Malcolmson can do, and will do, that same wonderful job for the people of Nanaimo as its next MLA as she's done as Member of Parliament for the last three years.”

No date has been set for the Nanaimo by-election.

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