Van Isle Party leader positive despite lack of candidates

By Dominic Abassi
March 5, 2017 - 9:02am Updated: March 5, 2017 - 12:20pm

The VI Party is still looking for a candidate in Nanaimo as the provincial election nears.VI Party

NANAIMO — The Vancouver Island Party hit B.C.'s political scene last summer with lofty goals and a wild platform, but with two months to go until the provincial election they have yet to declare a candidate.

Despite that, leader and founder, former Conservative MP Robin Richardson, remained positive about the progress his party has made. Richardson is standing by his goal of running a candidate in all 14 island ridings on May 9.

He said his party has had "a lot of interest," especially north of the Malahat and has candidates in the works for several ridings. Richardson said Nanaimo is not one of those areas, noting they have yet to have someone step-up in the mid-island.

When the party went public last summer their long-term goal was to have Vancouver Island become Canada's 11th province. Now Richardson is sharing a policy idea directed at students.

"We would offer free tuition for all Vancouver Island students that are going to universities and colleges on Vancouver Island," he said. "This is with a residency requirement, they would have to be a resident for four years before."

Richardson did not have any insight into how that would be funded.

Despite a seemingly slow uptick for the party, Richardson is claiming responsibility for some of the developments in this campaign.

"Christy Clark said for the first time ever the B.C. Liberals are going to have a Vancouver Island-specific set of policies...we took credit for that, I don't think if we weren't around she would have done that."

Richardson expected NDP leader John Horgan to make a similar move to focus on a region he said has been "largely ignored" by both levels of senior government.

Ultimately, Richardson said his party is not a fringe group, instead "in it for the long-haul."

"We'll have several thousand votes and we'll have a basis for riding associations and be even more competitive in the next election."

Political analyst Allan Warnke told NanaimoNewsNOW last July he didn't expect the Vancouver Island Party to have much of an impact in May, even unlikely to play a spoiler or split the vote.


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On Twitter: @domabassi

Former Nanaimo man appears on CTV reality series MasterChef Canada