British Columbia·Q&A

'A Green vote does count': MP-elect Paul Manly on what the party's Nanaimo victory means

Paul Manly was voted in as the new MP for the riding, a seat he’ll hold in the lead-up to the federal general election in October. He is the second Green candidate elected to a federal seat.

Manly won byelection with 37.3% of the vote

Paul Manly will be the second federal MP for the Green Party after his win in a B.C. byelection. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

The federal Green Party scored a big win in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection on Monday night.

Paul Manly was voted in as the new MP for the riding, a seat he'll hold in the lead-up to the federal general election in October. He is the second Green candidate elected to a federal seat.

Manly spoke with Gregor Craigie, host of CBC's On The Island, about his win and what it means.

How big of a deal is it for the Greens to win this seat?

This is a really big deal for the Green Party.

It really sends a strong message to the other parties that they need to get serious about issues like climate change and taking care of people in our communities, whether that's affordable housing or universal pharmacare or better paying jobs.

I think it also sends a message to the Greens that we have a good opportunity in the upcoming federal election.

With almost 99 per cent of polls reporting in the Nanimo-Ladysmith byelection, Manly had 37.3 per cent of the vote. Conservatives captured 24.8 per cent, and the NDP 23.1 per cent. The Liberals lagged behind with 11 per cent. (Chad Hipolito/Canadian Press)

You won fairly convincingly here, quite a contrast to when you ran in the last general election. What do you attribute the turnaround to?

People were worried that Stephen Harper was going to get elected again.

A lot of people told me after 2015 that they really wanted to vote for me or they stopped themselves at the last minute, they did the strategic voting thing.

This time around, there wasn't that fear and people really just voted for what they wanted.

You've got roughly six months until the next federal election. What do you plan to do in that time?

I'm going to go to Ottawa and work really hard to represent people here. We haven't had a representative for a while.

I've got to work on the affordable housing issue and see what I can do.

We need to get the federal government back into housing, whether that's subsidizing builders to build affordable housing — something that they won't do without some incentives — or get back into co-op housing.

Can you repeat this success in the upcoming fall election? What are your thoughts on whether people will feel compelled, as you say they did in 2015, to vote one way and therefore not vote Green?

What this has done is shown that a Green vote does count.

So many people are told over and over that it's a wasted vote.

But if they actually voted for what they wanted, and voted with their heart and their head rather than fear, they would get the government that they want.

That's the message, I think, that is going to go out — not just here on Vancouver Island but across the country.

This interview aired on On The Island on May 7, 2019, and has been edited for length and clarity. To hear the full interview, click on the audio below:

With files from On The Island


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