Nanaimo-Ladysmith ‘toss-up’ is producing national campaigns, says Island poli-sci prof – Parksville Qualicum Beach News

Party uncertainty may have contributed to Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s incumbent receiving thousands fewer votes in 2021 than in 2019, according to a political science professor.

The vote count will not be finalized until mail-in ballots are counted later this week, but Paul Manly, the Green Party of Canada candidate elected in 2019, is 2,700 votes behind the leader of the vote tally Lisa Marie Barron of the NDP and 1,700 behind Tamara Kronis of the Conservative Party. Manly said in a social media post that “the current margin will be difficult to overcome.”

Alex Netherton, a professor of political studies at Vancouver Island University, said the Greens had struggled during the election compared to the NDP.

“Jagmeet Singh’s election campaign was stellar in a sense…they had probably targeted that constituency because Jagmeet was on the island a whole slew of times and so that was a huge boost for the NDP campaign and as we know, on the green side, unfortunately the party had to air its dirty laundry and divisiveness ahead of the election and there were leadership issues,” Netherton said. “”If you google Annamie Paul and Singh’s Twitter accounts, you’ll find that Jagmeet has about 518,000 followers and Paul has about 35,000, so in the sense of a social presence and so on, Jagmeet Singh is very effective. “

Netherton said in the competition for the ‘progressive’ vote, Manly had the credentials and name recognition, but the absence of a ‘green tide’ was costly given the momentum the New Democrats were able to to create.

The fact that the Conservatives are taking a more moderate approach to this election was also interesting, according to Netherton.

“My best guess at this point is simply that the Tories under Erin O’Toole have brought the party back to the center,” Netherton said, citing the party’s climate change plan and commitments to reconciliation as examples. “So all of a sudden the Conservatives were no longer, according to their agenda…the bogeyman of 2015 and 2019. I thought that was really, really interesting.”

Netherton said the approach appeared to have paid off in the constituency as the Conservative Party attracted votes “in a way that it had not in the last two elections”.

He said the move from the “significant plurality the Greens had” in 2019 to a “hit and miss” suggests the Conservatives even got votes from the Green Party.

Affordability issues will be a pressing issue facing the MP no matter who that turns out to be, in Netherton’s estimation.

“The other thing is about workers and decent wages. We often hear, for example, from employers saying that they are posting notices and they can’t find anyone to work for them… what is really needed is the ability to make the service work, especially [during the pandemic]safer and to give service workers enough money to earn a living,” Netherton said.

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