Saturday May 20, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated 10 pm May 21, 2023]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Bringing politics to the people… three Langford-Juan de Fuca by-election candidates had information booths at the Luxton Spring Fair today.
The weather has been unseasonably warm this past week. People seemed in a summer-time mood.
Chatting with people who dropped by to their booths were Camille Currie (BC Green Party), Elena Lawson (BC United Party), and Ravi Parmar (BC NDP). Each of the booths is easy to find just beyond the major rides (enter the fairgrounds and mid-way through the rides area then turn left). Each of the candidate’s booths are comfortably in the shade.
The booths will be up and running tomorrow as well (Sunday May 21) from 12 noon to 6 pm, for another relaxed opportunity to meet the candidates. It’s an opportunity to get some campaign information materials, and possibly help you make up your mind about how you might vote in the upcoming by-election.
Similar issues by different dynamics:
In chatting with all three candidates today, it seems the issues that they hear about from constituents are pretty much the same: the shortage of family doctors, the cost of housing and renting, and the overall cost of living.
For families there are concerns about over-burdened schools including the challenges of maintaining local catchment as the SD62 school district tries to keep up with a fast-growing population.
But the party approaches to current issues are each quite different and the impact of one new MLA would differ depending on which party they belong to.
BC’s government is presently a majority NDP government, so electing Parmar would add to the majority (presently 55 seats), while electing Lawson would bolster the official opposition by one to 28 seats, or electing Currie would expand the BC Green Party representation from two to three MLAs in the legislative assembly.
- The BC NDP government has arguably turned around the province since 2017 in directions that put people first. They cleaned up the ICBC financial mess and ushered people through the pandemic. They recently disbursed a massive surplus (from the 2022-2023 budget) to boost many aspects of well-being for people including cancer research, transportation (including BC Ferries), and food sustainability. Party leader and Premier is David Eby.
- As the official opposition, the BC United Party has the role of holding the current government to account. Lately that has included aspects of public safety related to decriminalization of small amounts of illicit drugs. Party leader is Kevin Falcon.
- The BC Green Party tends to bring a practical approach to issues of the day with attention to people, small business and Indigenous communities. Party leader is Sonia Furstenau.
Colours at the fair:
Today the three candidate booths were adequately separated, but the similarity of green-and-pink for the BC Green Party vs teal-and-pink for the BC United Party might offer some confusion for the casually-interested voter. BC NDP colours are distinctively orange and blue.
Camille Currie (BC Greens) had an interactive booth where people could indicate their top priority as a constituent in Langford-Juan de Fuca, as well as a make-your-own-button activity. The priority list includes health care, housing, safety, climate, economy, arts, forestry, and food security. She explains that her approach to health care is beyond the mainstream system but offers a broader approach to well-being. | Camille Currie campaign website
Elena Lawson (BC United) is concerned about the doctor shortage and the impact of the fast-growing region on the schools. She would want to advocate for the local community in the legislature including families. | Elena Lawson campaign website
Ravi Parmar (BC NDP) is comfortable in elected politics; he is still a trustee with the Sooke School District 62 (west shore and Sooke) and has worked as a staffer in senior levels of the provincial government. He is already familiar with the municipal government players and has the full backing of former MLA (and former Premier) John Horgan. In recent days Parmar met with the housing development community in fundraiser meetings, hearing their views about the housing growth in Langford and Sooke. Parmar’s campaign materials also feature Premier David Eby. | Ravi Parmar campaign website
Mike Harris (BC Conservative Party) did not have a booth at the fair today. He is a Realtor, carpenter and small business operator in Langford. | Mike Harris campaign website
The by-election date has yet to be called. Premier David Eby has up to six months to set the by-election date; the former MLA retired on March 31, 2023 so the Langford-Juan de Fuca by-election must be called by September 30, 2023.
Candidates of the three major parties have been out campaigning for a few weeks now, including some sign-waving and knocking on doors around neighbourhoods in Langford and Sooke. The geographically large riding includes Langford, Sooke, and the Juan de Fuca region (East Sooke, Otter Point, and up to Port Renfrew).
According to Elections BC, the formal by-election campaign period will be 29 days, including Election Day.
The BC NDP backing behind Parmar is strong; south Vancouver Island has been an NDP stronghold for decades. But if there is overall low voter turnout (more likely in a summer election than a fall election), votes for Greens and BC United could cause some vote-splitting and disruption to the status quo.
- Strategies for Langford-Juan de Fuca by-election timing (May 16, 2023)
- Passing the BC NDP torch in Langford-Juan de Fuca (May 14, 2023)
- Three provincial electoral areas for west shore (April 18, 2023)
- BC Greens launch their Langford-Juan de Fuca candidate (April 6, 2023)
- John Horgan wraps up 18 years in BC elected politics (February 9, 2023)
- Decoupling of Langford and Sooke in proposed new BC electoral boundaries (Nov 22, 2022)
===== ABOUT 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]. She has covered the details of local, provincial and federal elections since 2008. As of 2023 Mary P Brooke reports with the BC Legislative Press Gallery.
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 Ms Brooke reported daily on BC’s COVID pandemic news to build the ongoing COVID pandemic archive; she holds a B.Sc. in health science. Since 2021 Mary Brooke has been building a Food Security news archive.