Home Election Tracker Canadian Federal 2025 Colin Plant aiming for federal NDP heights

Colin Plant aiming for federal NDP heights

NDP Saanich-Gulf Islands nomination meeting coming up April 27

colin plant, saanich gulf islands
Long-time Saanich Councillor and CRD Chair Colin Plant is seeking the federal NDP nomination in Saanich-Gulf Islands.

Tuesday April 9, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC

Political profile by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Beyond the Greater Victoria area, Colin Plant is currently not a household name. Not like Elizabeth May who he’s hoping to unseat in the next federal election.

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Colin Plant was re-elected as CRD Chair in Nov 2023. [CRD]

But first Colin Plant, 51, needs to achieve the NDP nomination as the candidate for Saanich-Gulf Islands. So far he’s competing with lawyer and activist Devon Black to get the NDP nod. “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm,” is the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote at the footer of his email.

“My focus currently is on the nomination,” says Plant, who for 24 years has been a teacher in Saanich (SD63) and the re-elected chair of the Capital Regional District (CRD) which guides 13 municipalities that that comprise Greater Victoria.

It says something about his consistency (or plain good political skills) to have been returned to being Chair after the significant upheaval in several municipalities in the October 2022 election.

Would aim to unseat Elizabeth May:

Elizabeth May, 69, has been the Green Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Saanich-Gulf Islands since 2011. She is the longest serving female leader of a Canadian federal party and known broadly for both her career-long commitment to environmental issues and her expertise in legislative matters.

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Green Party’s Elizabeth May to Ukraine President Zelenskyy: “You are a champion of democracy.” (March 2022)

“Certainly I would like to acknowledge and thank Elizabeth May for her service to the riding over many years,” Plant told Island Social Trends recently.

In the 2021 election May won the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding of 93,538 electors with 37.62% of the vote (twice as much as the candidates for the Conservatives and NDP combined). So far it sounds like she plans to run again.

Next election within 12 to 18 months:

The next federal election is currently scheduled by Elections Canada for October 20, 2025. But it could come sooner if the Supply and Confidence Agreement between the Liberals and the NDP falls apart or some other unforeseen political shift arises.

“I’m so excited to seek this nomination and feel like this is the right time for me to step forward,” says Plant. Between now and the April 27 nomination meeting he will be visiting each of the Gulf Islands in order to meet residents and listen to their ideas and concerns.

What is Plant’s style? “I aim for 1/3 fun, 2/3 info-sharing,” says Plant on his ‘X’ social media account.

Here’s the Island Social Trends interview with Colin Plant:

When did you decide to run? Did something shift in your career or personal life or the riding itself, to prompt your decision?

“I have always dreamed of becoming a Member of Parliament. My parents kept a scrapbook documenting my childhood and when I was five years old my mother recorded that my dream job was to be ‘the government’.

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CRD Chair Colin Plant [CRD – 2021]

I have always believed in helping others and believe government can be a force for positive societal change and to help make things better.

In Grade 11 I took a trip to Ottawa and participated in a week-long tour to learn more about our federal government (House of Commons, Senate, Supreme Court and other locations were part of our trip) and it reinforced in me a pride of being Canadian and a desire to serve as an MP.

More recently I was encouraged to seek the nomination by Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, other political mentors and Saanich-Gulf Islands residents.

I grew up in the riding and have spent my entire teaching career (24 years) working in the riding. I have taught at public secondary schools in North Saanich, Central Saanich and Saanich. I know this riding well, its geography and know that I can speak authentically to the issues Saanich-Gulf Islands residents care about.”

colin plant, bc transit
Colin Plant at a BC Transit announcement in Colwood on June 30, 2021. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

What’s your interest federally?

“My primary interest is to serve the residents of Saanich-Gulf Islands and represent them effectively in Ottawa. But I also want to ensure those who live in the riding who need federal government services are effectively supported.

While many issues draw me to seek the nomination, four specific issues stand out to me at this time: income inequality, child poverty, climate change and First Nations relations.

We are a nation that has a history of working to take care of each other. However, the growing wealth gap is leading to greater social, environmental and financial challenges. Simply put, billionaires and billion-dollar corporations need to pay their fair share. We need to ensure capitalism is appropriately-regulated through government interventions. Capitalism is an economic system and should not been viewed as a moral system.

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As a signatory to the Climate Change Emergency Declaration in Saanich and the CRD I have demonstrated I want to be part of governments that make and keep commitments to ensure there is a sustainable future for our children.

Working to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action is something I believe needs to have a higher priority in our society.

My government-to-government work at the CRD with local First Nations has been very rewarding and I am proud of the work we have undertaken. I have appreciated the opportunity to sit down with First Nations in co-creating a prosperous future for all people. There is more to be done and it must be done at every level of government in Canada.”

metchosin, summer 2023, ad

What makes the NDP opening available now (compared to any previous time)?

“In preparation for each election the NDP conducts a nomination race. I decided I would put my name to seek the nomination back in November after being called by Jagmeet Singh and being encouraged to run by the riding’s Candidate Selection committee.”

What qualifications/attributes would you bring to the NDP and to the role of MP?

“I am experienced in local government and have proven able to work effectively with colleagues of all different political viewpoints. I am a proven communicator, teacher and realize that my role would be to reflect the interests of Saanich-Gulf Islands through a political party system.

I listen to people and I think carefully before acting on issues. I have a Master’s Degree in Leadership and I routinely think about the role of leaders and how to effectively lead.”

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Federal riding of Saanich-Gulf Islands [Elections Canada]

How long have you lived in Saanich / south Vancouver Island?

“I have lived in the region since I was 15. I was born in Salmon Arm, BC and grew up in Sicamous, BC. We moved to Central Saanich in 1987 when my family bought a large dairy farm on Island View Road.”

island fancon, 2024

Your profession, hobbies/interests:

“I am a secondary school teacher, Saanich Councillor and CRD Board Chair. I have served as Board Chair for six straight years and this is the longest tenure of any Chair the CRD has ever had.

My hobbies include riding my e-bike, hiking in our regional trails, playing online scrabble and attending performing arts events as often as I can.

I am blessed to have my wife Catherine support me in this endeavour. She is my best friend and without her support I could not imagine putting my name forward to seek the nomination and hopefully become the MP for this riding. She is incredibly supportive, understanding and kind. We have four adult sons.

I have three degrees (all from UVic): Two undergraduate: Theatre Direction and Secondary Education. And a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership.”

If you were to win the riding, would you leave CRD behind at that point?

“If I am successful in getting the nomination (the nomination meeting is scheduled for April 27), I intend to continue serving in my role as CRD Director and Saanich Councillor until an election is called.

However, I will not be seeking re-election this November (2024) for the role of (CRD) Board Chair. I would remain as a Councillor and CRD Director until the nomination period when I would request a leave of absence from my Saanich Council and CRD Board work.

If I was elected I would need to step down from being a Saanich Councillor and CRD Director.

ribbon cutting, sport box, horgan
Official ribbon cutting at the new community sport box at Raven’s Ridge Park in Sooke, June 26, 2022. Mayor Maja Tait; Premier John Horgan; SEAPARC Commission Chair Al Beddows; District Councillors Jeff Bateman, Dana Lajeunesse and Tony St-Pierre; CRD Chair Colin Plant; Juan de Fuca Regional Director Mike Hicks; and youth athletes, Mason from Juan de Fuca Whalers Lacrosse and Emma from Sooke Minor Hockey cut the ribbon to official open the sport box. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Why does that riding need NDP representation? How would that serve Vancouver Islanders better?

“I believe the NDP is the party that best presents a vision for Canada that will ensure a prosperous future for Canadians and our planet. It is a party committed to addressing the great challenges of our time like climate change, housing and affordability. I will work collaboratively across the aisle and in a positive and respectful manner to develop and deliver meaningful policies for Canadians.

The Liberals and Conservatives have held power during the history of Canada and are not different enough from each other in my opinion.

I know our country has the potential to be better and I believe the NDP have the best policies to achieve this. If people really want change then they need to elect people and a government who are committed to make changes in a way that leaves nobody behind.”

urban food resilience initiatives society, logo
The Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society is based in the west shore of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Anything else you’d like to mention?

I look forward to door-knocking in the riding and meeting more residents.

I am a Chief Scout of Canada recipient.

I once worked at the Butchart Gardens during my university studies. Yes, Mr. Plant worked at a garden.

I feel that given my history of public service, having grown up in the riding and serving as CRD Board Chair prepares me for this work.

Currently my focus is on calling every member on the riding association membership list to listen to their concerns and introduce myself.

===== RELATED:

NDP sees Saanich-Gulf Islands as ‘vulnerable’ (April 23, 2024)

Day 6 #elxn44: Elizabeth May lunches in Cordova Bay (August 20, 2021)

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Island Social Trends reports news with socioeconomic insights and analysis. Independent news service on south Vancouver Island, BC. Read free online or get the biweekly PDF by email.