Home Election Tracker By-Elections Eby calling by-election shortly, Parmar expects tight race in Langford-Juan de Fuca

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Eby calling by-election shortly, Parmar expects tight race in Langford-Juan de Fuca

Premier Eby: by-election in August would be ‘tough on people’

Thursday May 25, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated June 1, 2023]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends


In followup to his comment yesterday that the two upcoming provincial by-elections are “critically important”, Premier David Eby popped into the downtown core of Langford today for some Goldstream Avenue main-streeting on coffee shops patios, in a retail store, the local library, and a barber shop.

The Premier said the by-elections (one in Langford-Juan de Fuca and the other in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant) will be called “shortly”. He is leaving on a trade mission to the Indo-Pacific (including Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Vietnam) on Saturday, returning June 7.

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And he said today that August would be ‘tough on people’ being expected to participate politically (presuming volunteers as well as voters).

So it sounds like the 29-day official campaign period will be announced in the next day or so. That would see a busy month of June for candidates and campaign teams.

The Langford-Juan de Fuca by-election must be called by September 30, 2023.

It also indicates that Eby wants the two presently vacant MLA seats filled ahead of the Fall 2023 Session of the Legislative Assembly (which starts October 3).

Experiencing Langford:

In Langford he said he experienced the ‘vibrancy’ of the growing areas of BC while meeting people in the shops and along Goldstream Avenue this afternoon.

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Premier David Eby meeting folks in Langford May 25, 2023 along with Langford-Juan de Fuca BC NDP candidate Ravi Parmar. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Many of the folks seated and available to chat on a coffee shop patio were BC NDP Langford-Juan de Fuca candidate Ravi Parmar’s campaign workers and various long-time members of the Langford business and political community. Several of them had worked with John Horgan during his 18-year run as MLA (and then Premier).

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Premier David Eby at the Goudy Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library in central Langford on May 25, 2023 along with Langford-Juan de Fuca BC NDP candidate Ravi Parmar. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

BC Elections framework & political strategy:

Technically the Premier has until September 30 to call the Langford-Juan de Fuca by-election and up to October 14, 2023 to call the by-election in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. Yesterday Eby described the dynamics of the two upcoming by-elections as “really exciting and different”.

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It sounds from the Premier’s remark yesterday in Vancouver and today in Langford that the two by-elections may well be run during the same time period.

Getting two vacant MLA seats filled ahead of the October 3 start of the BC Legislative Assembly fall session makes political sense; both seats were vacated by NDP MLAs, and naturally Eby would hope to see those seats replaced with new NDP MLAs, though the NDP government has a solid majority at this time with 55 seats of 87.

However, politically-speaking it could send a worrisome signal to the NDP if an MLA were elected from another party (BC United, BC Green or BC Conservative), as that would indicate groundswell momentum by other parties only one year ahead of the next provincial election (presently set for October 2024).

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Premier David Eby and BC NDP Langford-Juan de Fuca candidate Ravi Parmar popped into a local barber shop in Langford, May 25, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

The by-election campaign period(s) will each be 29 days (including election day), according to Elections BC.

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Tight race says Parmar:

Parmar has been out campaigning in Langford, Sooke and other parts of the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding over the past several weeks, including meeting with housing builders and developers. One of those meetings was a paid fundraiser with local business people in Langford which included developers. Parmar’s team says the other event was a meeting of the Sooke Builders Association at which Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon spoke about housing initiatives.

Parmar referred to Langford as “bustling and happy”. “My heart is always going to be with SD62. I’ve been with that organization for 10 years, ever since I became an adult,” Parmar said today. “I’m excited to be working with SD62 in a different way,” said Parmar, presuming he wins the MLA seat.

He says he’s “hearing on the doorstep that they want a continuation of the service they got from John Horgan”, adding: “They don’t want to go backwards when government made negative cuts.”

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Three Langford-Juan de Fuca candidates at the Luxton Spring Fair on May 20, 2023 (from left): Camille Currie (BC Greens), Elena Lawson (BC United), and Ravi Parmar (BC-NDP). [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Today he told Island Social Trends that he expects a tight race in Langford-Juan de Fuca. Why a tight race? He didn’t really answer that question with any specifics, but offered: “Any by-election can be challenging. Turnout tends to be a bit lower for by-elections,” said Parmar. He said his campaign will be “out in full force, a really strong ground campaign”.

So far, for anyone who’s been paying attention to rumblings of the Langford-Juan de Fuca by-election, the BC Greens (candidate Camille Currie) and BC United (candidate Elena Lawson) have been raising their profile in recent weeks.

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Currently there are four party candidates vying for the coveted MLA seat in the west shore: Camille Currie (BC Green), Mike Harris (BC Conservative), Elena Lawson (BC United), and Ravi Parmar (BC NDP).

Housing pressures:

Parmar as BC NDP candidate says that some of the smaller community mayors in his riding (which includes Highlands) are “nervous about their ability to be able to keep up with growth”.

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Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon is expected to soon announce eight or more municipalities across BC where the province will expect to see the development of more housing supply.

Parmar said that Highlands is “an incredibly unique community with its own opportunities and challenges”; if elected he says he will work with Highlands around housing needs and attracting a younger population that will help with community-type services like firefighting. Parmar is planning to be in Highlands this Sunday, May 28.

The Premier described Langford-Juan de Fuca as “a really good example of a fast-growing community”…”. He said there is “dramatic population growth as a result of people choosing to move to British Columbia from other countries around the world, from other provinces across Canada.”

Spin-off by-election in SD62:

If BC NDP candidate Ravi Parmar wins the MLA seat in Langford-Juan de Fuca, that will kick-off a by-election in Sooke School District 62 (SD62) Belmont Zone (for voters in Langford, Highlands, Metchosin and Colwood).

According to Elections BC and the Ministry of Education and Child Care, a school trustee by-election would need to be called within six months of any school trustee leaving a school board of education. That applies when there is more than six months remaining for the board to operate without all trustee seats filled. The next full school trustee election will not be until 2026.

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===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:

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Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends is professional regional journalism at islandsocialtrends.ca. Fully online as a daily news portal since mid-2020, Island Social Trends emerged from the path of previous print publications in the west shore: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020).

Since 2008, journalist and editor Mary P Brooke has taken a socioeconomic lens to reporting and analyzing the news of the west shore and south Vancouver Island region, including BC and national news impacts. [See Island Social Trends Politics Archive]. Ms Brooke has actively covered the details of local, provincial and federal elections since 2008. As of 2023, Mary P Brooke reports with the BC Legislative Press Gallery.

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Mary P Brooke has also focused on news of School District 62 (Langford, Colwood and Sooke) at the board level since 2014 [see Island Social Trends Education archive] and has covered West Shore Parks & Recreation over the years (particularly the transitional years of 2014-2020). During 2020 and 2021 she reported daily on BC’s COVID pandemic news to build the ongoing COVID pandemic archive. Since 2021 she has been building a Food Security news archive.

Watch for the renewed print edition of Island Social Trends (formerly West Shore Voice News) in summer 2023. Advertisers welcome – inquiries. | How to be a Premium Subscriber