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HomeMiscellanyAnalysis: NDP blew Nanaimo by-election with parachute candidate who donated to Trudeau

Analysis: NDP blew Nanaimo by-election with parachute candidate who donated to Trudeau

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Bob Mackin

Let the NDP belly-aching and navel-gazing begin, after Jagmeet Singh’s party lost its seat in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith by-election.

Quite simply, the Greens had the right candidate for the right party at the right time in the form of Paul Manly, a local multimedia producer whose father is a former NDP MP.

The NDP blew it when they chose North Vancouver’s Bob Chamberlin and voters agreed. Chamberlin finished a distant third, almost 6,000 votes behind Manly and 700 behind runner-up John Hirst of the Conservatives.   

It may have been because of his scant ties to Nanaimo (he went to high school there) or because theBreaker.news revealed that he financially supported the unpopular prime minister late last year.

Chamberlin donated $1,390.25 to attend a cash for access cocktail party to help fund Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s re-election campaign with 75 others at the Gleneagles golf course clubhouse last Nov. 1 in West Vancouver. The number of people outside protesting Trudeau’s approval of the Woodfibre LNG plant near Squamish rivalled the number on the guest list.

Liberal donors in 2018, NDP supporters in 2019: Bob Chamberlin (left) and Melissa Louie. (Twitter)

Chamberlin, a vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, did not respond to email or phone messages last November, when the Liberal Party published the list and theBreaker.news wanted to know why he attended.

On March 24, while running for the nomination, Chamberlin Tweeted that he went “to support my friend [West Vancouver Liberal MP] Pam Goldsmith-Jones, we were friends before she became an MP and we remain friends to this day.”

There are other ways and other days on which to support a friend. At least two come to mind and the occasions are annual. Namely, birthday and Christmas. Both are truly non-partisan occasions. 

Chamberlin denied he was endorsing the Liberal Party. But it certainly looked like he was. Despite previously protesting against the Trans Mountain Pipeline (that Trudeau bought with our money), Chamberlin did not explicitly criticize the Liberal Party until an April 2 Tweet in support of ex-Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould: “Honesty and integrity are unwelcome in the Liberal Gov.” 

But it is still a puzzle why Chamberlin waited until he threw his hat in the ring to explain to a reporter (albeit publicly) why he shelled out cash to hang out with Trudeau. His partner, Melissa Louie, made matters worse when she Tweeted on March 25 that “nobody is actually accountable to, or owes anything to, a newspaper.”

It is no wonder that Louie eventually locked her Twitter account from public view to prevent another bozo eruption after wantonly disparaging the media while Chamberlin was running for office. 

Louie is a lawyer at Morgan and Associates in West Vancouver. She is also listed in the Elections Canada database, and on the Liberal Party website, as an attendee and donor of $1,390.25 to the same Nov. 1 event. Louie provided her law office address, rather than her residential address, to the Liberal Party and, in turn, Elections Canada.

In an email, Louie said that her law firm has nothing to do with her personal life. “It’s just a place where I work. I filled out with my work address because I have a long standing practice of receiving mail and packages at my work because I spend so much time there.”

Elections Canada spokeswoman Natasha Gauthier said the federal campaign finance law states that the contributor’s home address must be recorded, for any contribution over $200.

The by-election was called after the NDP’s Sheila Malcolmson quit to successfully run to replace Leonard Krog as the area MLA, after Krog won Nanaimo’s mayoralty and quit the Legislature.

No word yet whether Chamberlin will try again on Oct. 21 or if the NDP will find a Nanaimoan to challenge Manly. 

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