With the Monday (Sept. 21) announcement of the snap provincial election coming to B.C. this October 24, the race for candidacy for different parties in Skeena riding is starting up, and going to be moving quickly.
The main political parties in Skeena riding are the BC NDP and the BC Liberals.
Ellis Ross – BC Liberal Party
The current MLA, Ellis Ross, is with the BC Liberals and has been in the position since the last provincial election in 2017.
Ross said in a Facebook Live video Monday morning that he will, in fact, be running for Skeena MLA again, addressing rumours that began circulating earlier this month that he wouldn’t be running again when he hadn’t made any announcements.
“I hadn’t announced anything, actually, because I thought that we were going to wait until the mandated date for election, which would’ve been next year,” Ross said. “I am going to run again, because the question has become much more bigger than just an LNG project in Kitimat.”
Ross said he wants to continue advocating for economic development, especially in the middle of the pandemic, where many economies have been struggling, because he doesn’t want to see Skeena go through any more recessions.
“I’ve already lived through a period of recession, where there was no jobs, no opportunities. There was nothing,” Ross said. “You watched all the services leave town. You watched doctors leave town, nurses, you watched all the stores get boarded up. I don’t want to see Skeena like that again.”
Ross said he’s not sure how long he plans on continuing in politics, but as of this election, he’ll be running to try to see jobs through and continue important economic and resource discussions.
“I do not play politics when it comes to livelihoods of British Columbians. I do not want to see my friends and my family fail,” Ross said. “I can’t quit until I know that we’re living in a good, strong province. A really strong province.”
No one else has announced that they plan on running for BC Liberal candidate at this time.
Nicole Halbauer – BC NDP
Nicole Halbauer from Kitsumkalum has secured the BC NDP nomination for the Skeena riding.
Halbauer is the current Chair of the Board of Directors at Coast Mountain College. She has a master’s degree in business and is accredited by the Institute of Corporate directors. She grew up in the Skeena riding, raised her six children here, and her two-year-old granddaughter is being raised here as well.
One of Halbauer’s top priorities if elected would be the Mills Memorial Hospital replacement project.
“Keeping the hospital on track, making sure that we get that new hospital built to meet the needs of our region … and possibly reduce our dependence on travel,” she said.
Halbauer said she would also focus on housing, jobs, and education for the Skeena riding.
“I want to make sure that when my granddaughter goes to school there’s a system there that can support her and that she is able to attend schools and get an education in our riding that is meaningful,” she said.
Halbauer said she was raised to take a leadership role in her community and provincial politics is the next step. She said the BC NDP was the party she joined because its values align with those she was raised on.
“The NDP really reflects my personal values and the values that I was raised with in my mother’s community. It’s about people. It’s about taking care of each other,” she said. “These are all values that are very near and dear to my heart. Making sure that we do our best to raise others up and make sure that we are not succeeding at the expense of anybody.”
She was also one of four to seek the BC NDP nomination for the 2017 provincial election, but lost to Bruce Bidgood, an Associate Professor at the University of Northern British Columbia.
It is not known yet whether other parties, such as the BC Green Party, will run candidates in the Skeena riding.