Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls by-election in Nanaimo-Ladysmith in midst of NDP nomination race

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      In less than two months, B.C. will have a new MP to fill the seat vacated by new NDP MLA Sheila Malcolmson.

      Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that a by-election in Nanaimo-Ladysmith will be held on May 6.

      Whoever is elected will only sit as an MP for just over five months before a general election will be held on October 21.

      The NDP has not yet nominated a candidate.

      There are two high-profile declared contestants:

      * Lauren Semple, the event director for the last three Nanaimo Pride festivals, a former Nanaimo Pride president, and former riding assistant to Malcolmson;

      * and Bob Chamberlin, vice president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and elected chief of the Kwikwasut'inuxw Haswa'mis First Nation.

      Chief Bob Chamberlin is also trying to win the NDP nomination in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
      Amanda Siebert

      Four other parties already have nominated candidates:

      * Financial-services worker Jennifer Clarke for the People's Party of Canada;

      * Management consultant Michelle Cornfield for the Liberals;

      * Sun Life Financial manager John Hirst for the Conservatives; 

      * Filmmaker Paul Manly of the Green Party of Canada.

      Last year, Hirst soundly defeated Clarke to become the Conservative candidate.

      Paul Manly ran for the Greens in 2015 after being rejected by the NDP.

      The Green candidate, Manly, ran in 2015 and is the son of former NDP MP Jim Manly, who represented Cowichan-Malahat–The Islands from 1980 to 1988.

      In 2014, Paul Manly said the NDP federal executive denied him the chance to seek a party nomination because of concerns over his position on Israeli-Palestinian issues.

      Manly's father was arrested in Gaza in 2012 after being part of group of protesters aboard the MV Estelle that tried to break through an Israeli blockade.

      “We had hoped that the New Democrats and other parties also would speak out. Not particularly for me but for the people of Gaza and of Palestine,” Jim Manly told the Straight in 2015. “And they didn’t and this has never been Paul’s central issue. It’s been a very important issue for Eva—my wife—and myself. But it’s never been Paul’s central issue.”

      In 2015, Jim Manly said that his son would have done very well as an NDP candidate, "but he was not approved by the Ottawa apparatchiks" in the party.