NANAIMO, B.C. — The New Democrats and the Liberals traded the lead in early results Wednesday night in a provincial byelection that could leave Premier John Horgan’s Minority Government in British Columbia on shaky ground.
A Liberal win would give the party 43 seats, tying it with the 43 seats held by the combined NDP and Green party, which signed an agreement after the 2017 provincial election allowing the New Democrats to form a minority government.
With about a dozen of 111 ballot boxes counted, New Democrat Sheila Malcolmson held a lead over B.C. Liberal candidate Tony Harris.
Nanaimo traditionally votes NDP, but Harris has deep family roots in the city and has been campaigning to bring economic development and infrastructure to the often neglected community.
Malcolmson resigned her seat in the House of Commons to run in the byelection, saying she wants to ensure the policies of the former B.C. Liberal government do not return because they increased homelessness and the cost of housing in the city.
Green candidate Michele Ney, the daughter of longtime Nanaimo mayor Frank Ney, says she wants to help the city become a clean economy powerhouse.
The byelection was called when New Democrat Leonard Krog resigned last year after he was elected the city’s mayor.
There are 45,359 voters in the Nanaimo riding and Elections BC says 9,322 voters turned out at the advanced polls.
Turnout was reported to be steady at vote locations throughout the Vancouver Island city of 90,000 residents.
The Canadian Press
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