Voters in Nanaimo, B.C., elected the Green Party’s Paul Manly as their new member of Parliament, barely six months before October’s federal election.
With about 93 per cent of the ballots counted in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith by-election, Manly has taken about 38 per cent of the vote.
John Hirst, the Conservative candidate, is a distant second with 25 per cent of the vote.
Manly will become the second Green Party member in Parliament, joining Leader Elizabeth May.
“This bodes well for the Green Party across Canada,” he said.
His victory shows the other parties that Canadians are serious about climate change, Manly said, adding he expects the Green wave of support to grow in the October election.
On Monday evening he stood on the victory stage with his parents who Manly said were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this week.
“On Friday, I’m going to Ottawa. Our campaign slogan was together we can do this. Today we did. In October we’re going to do it all over again.”
Manly said he was heading to Ottawa to help Leader Elizabeth May.
“I’m so looking forward to working with her to double the Green caucus.”
He told crowd of jubilant supporters that he will work hard to do better for the community.
“How we can change the economy — that we are working in to protect the environment that we need for our health, for our children, for our grandchildren,” he said. “How we can do a better job of taking care of people who are less fortunate.”
He said governments should stop subsidizing the “old” economy.
“We moved beyond the horse and buggy and its time to move beyond the internal combustion engine,” Manly said, as the crowd cheered.
It’s also time that the government stop giving foreign multinationals tax breaks that “frack our environment and expand oil production,” he said.
“Those days should be over. It’s time to move forward,” Manly said.
“I will not compromise on the future of our children and our grandchildren.”
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, the MP for the Vancouver Island riding of Saanich Gulf-Islands, called Manly’s win on Monday the dawn of a new era in federal politics.
She thanked Manly, his volunteers and the voters of the riding.
“It is brave to vote for real change. Paul and I will work tirelessly to continue to earn the trust of Canadians. Paul will make Nanaimo-Ladysmith proud,” May said in a statement.
Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party also offered his congratulations, saying Manly ran a “principled campaign on a powerful vision for his community.”
Whether it is the changing economy, widening income inequality, the housing crisis, or the climate disaster, Greens across the country have become important contributors in the political landscape, Weaver said.
Manly, is a researcher, a filmmaker and a communications specialist.
He was the Green Party’s candidate in 2015 in the same riding and finished fourth with 20 per cent of the vote.
The riding has been vacant since January when former New Democrat MP Sheila Malcolmson resigned the seat to run successfully in a provincial by-election in Nanaimo.
This is the third election in eight months for residents of this Vancouver Island city.
Seven candidates were in the contest, which saw five federal leaders visit the riding, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
The Nanaimo area has traditionally swung back and forth between New Democrat or Conservative-leaning MP’s.