A Port McNeill councillor is eyeing a spot in the Parliament of Canada after being acclaimed to the Conservative’s North Island-Powell River riding. Federal elections are set to take place Oct. 21, 2019.
Shelley Downey, who has been a Port McNeill councillor for 11 years in total, said that she was approached in the summer by the North Island-Powell River Conservative Association to run for the open candidate spot.
“There’s a process, a nomination process. They gather a group of potential candidates who are required to file particular documents and signatures of support,” she said.
She also noted that there is typically an election runoff for candidates. In her case, the nomination resulted in an acclamation. “The election is part of the process but did not happen in my situation as the other candidate withdrew before the closing date,” she said via email.
“I am running for North Island-Powell River to be their voice in Ottawa; To have a seat in the legislature of the governing party and make a difference for our riding and our nation,” she added.
In what could be construed as a conflict of interest, Downey said that “there is no requirement for municipal politicians to take a leave of absence or resign in order to run for a provincial or federal seat.” She currently sits on the Port McNeill council after a recent local government election last October.
“When the writ is dropped, I anticipate requesting a leave of absence from Port McNeill council,” she also noted.
Port McNeill’s Acting Administrator, Pete Nelson-Smith, said over a phone that the town’s advice for Downey was to contact Elections Canada to confirm whether or not she would need to step down.
“As far as I can see, there’s no legislation saying she can’t be both at the same time. On a local level, we don’t have an issue of her running as a (member of parliament), but if she does get elected, as long as she’s cognizant that she needs to remove herself if she finds herself in a conflict (of interest), I don’t see any reason we wouldn’t allow it,” he concluded.
The Gazette has reached out to Elections Canada to confirm whether or not there is federal legislation that may restrict local politicians from running as a member of parliament, but due to time zone difference, the Gazette was unable to reach out for comment.
More to come.