Top row, left to right: Tony Harris, B.C. Liberal Party; Justin Greenwood, B.C. Conservatives; Sheila Malcolmson, B.C. NDP; bottom row, left to right: Michele Ney, B.C. Green Party; Robin Richardson, Vancouver Island Party; Bill Walker, B.C. Libertarian Party. NEWS BULLETIN FILE PHOTO and PHOTOS SUBMITTED

Nanaimo votes in potentially historic B.C. byelection

Voters will test the strength of NDP’s minority government in the province

Voters in Nanaimo cast their ballots on Wednesdya in a byelection that could leave B.C.’s legislature deadlocked and Premier John Horgan’s minority New Democrat government on shaky ground.

A Liberal win would give the party 43 seats, tying it with the 43 seats held by the NDP and Green party, which signed an agreement after the 2017 provincial election allowing the New Democrats to form a minority government.

READ ALSO: B.C. byelection tests NDP’s slim minority as provincial focus on Nanaimo

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Nanaimo traditionally votes NDP, but Liberal candidate Tony Harris has deep family roots in the Vancouver Island city and has been campaigning to bring economic development and infrastructure to the often neglected community.

Former New Democrat MP Sheila Malcolmson resigned her federal seat last year to run in the provincial 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.

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