The Pollcast: What to watch for in Monday's federal B.C. byelection

On the latest episode of The Pollcast, Éric Grenier, Elise von Scheel and John Paul Tasker break down the upcoming federal byelection in Nanaimo–Ladysmith.

B.C. riding of Nanaimo–Ladysmith to hold last vote before fall federal election

Bob Chamberlin is trying to hold the B.C. federal riding of Nanaimo–Ladysmith for the New Democrats in Monday's federal byelection. (NDP)

Voters in the British Columbia riding of Nanaimo–Ladysmith are going to the polls Monday for what will be the last electoral test before the fall federal election.

It's a riding the New Democrats are looking to hold — and one where the Conservatives, Liberals and Greens are hoping to score an upset.

The byelection is being held to fill the vacancy left by former NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson, who resigned in January to run as a candidate in the provincial byelection of Nanaimo. She was successfully elected under the banner of the provincial NDP in the vote held later that month.

Her resignation at the beginning of the year came just before the nine month cut-off — after which vacancies in the House of Commons do not need to be filled — leading to a rare byelection taking place within six months of a national vote.

The riding saw a relatively close four-way race in 2015, with Malcolmson winning 33.2 per cent of ballots cast compared to 23.5 per cent for the Liberals, 23.4 per cent for the Conservatives and 19.8 per cent for the Greens' Paul Manly, who is running for the party again.

Bob Chamberlin, the vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, is campaigning to hold the Vancouver Island seat for the NDP. Michelle Corfield is carrying the banner for the Liberals, while John Hirst is the Conservative candidate. Jennifer Clarke is running for the People's Party and Brian Marlatt is the candidate for the Progressive Canadian Party.

With the vote coming so close to the general election, parties are hoping for a strong result to carry into the fall contest — especially the Greens, who are coming off a breakthrough in the provincial election in Prince Edward Island.

The NDP wants to show it can hold its own in one of its traditional strongholds, while the Liberals would like some signal that the SNC-Lavalin affair has not hobbled them. The Conservatives will be looking to see if they can take advantage of a split among progressives; the Conservative Party routinely used to win part of the riding before the boundaries were redrawn ahead of the last election.

To break down what to watch for in Monday's byelection, CBC polls analyst Éric Grenier is joined by the CBC's Elise von Scheel and John Paul Tasker on this week's episode of The Pollcast podcast.

Listen to the full discussion above — or subscribe to the CBC Pollcast and listen to past episodes of the show.


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