Saturday May 13, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated May 16, 2023]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
John Horgan has now officially passed the torch to Ravi Parmar.
The transition has been in the works among NDP circles for about 10 years. But there’s a proper political process, and hence one more meeting of the Langford-Juan de Fuca support sphere was held — a short rally-style meeting on Saturday May 13.
With easily 200 people in the room on a hot Saturday afternoon, the event was held to officially acclaim Parmar as the NDP candidate for the provincial riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca, for the upcoming 2023 by-election (date still to be announced).
Parmar’s hand-crafted selection and grooming over many years among the Vancouver Island NDP community has signified many things. It gave witness to Horgan’s plan to bring younger blood into the party to vie for the highest levels of public office, and his mastery of working the strings of organized party politics over the past 30 years. Yesterday Horgan pulled no punches on pointing out the racial diversity that Parmar — an immigrant to Canada from India — brings to the candidacy, as well as his youth.
NDP supporters filled the hall at Gordon United Church on Goldstream Ave. This comes on the heels of the Parmar nomination announced on April 12, 2023.
The signature orange signage around the room was for the party, for the premier and for Parmar.
Who was there:
High profile supporters on stage and in the room included Rob Fleming, MLA (Victoria-Swan Lake) who is Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure; Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin) who is Minister of Children and Family Development; Grace Lore, MLA (Victoria-Beacon Hill) who is Minister of State for Child Care; federal MP Randall Garrison (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke); former Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks; former MLA and long-time NDP organizer Maurine Karagianis; SD62 Chair Amanda Dowhy; and former SD62 Trustees Bob Phillips and Neil Poirier.
SD62 Secretary Treasurer Harold Cull was helping out with the audio equipment, and there were many NDP organizers including Shannon Russell (former Horgan constituency and BC Government employee, and a 2022 City of Langford council candidate), Hans Frederiksen (former long-time Horgan constituency employee), and Sue Stroud (financial officer for the Parmar campaign).
From the Sooke local community were District of Sooke Councillors Dana Lajeunesse and Kevin Pearson; former District of Sooke Councillor Rick Kasper; and local community helper Moonfist.
Also attending was the elderly Bob McMinn who founded of the Greater Victoria Greenbelt Society.
Still the Horgan story:
Horgan became premier in July 2017. Parmar was pretty quickly on the board of the Sooke School District (SD62) after high school, being elected in the 2018 trustee (municipal) election cycle.
Parmar, now 29, has served as chair of the SD62 board for much of the last five years, only recently stepping back from that position to make this run for MLA.
If Parmar wins in Langford-Juan de Fuca he will become the youngest MLA to arrive into the halls of power in the BC Legislative Assembly.
For the past five years Parmar has been a senior ministry staffer, so the territory is not new (currently he is a senior ministerial advisor to the Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, Brenda Bailey).
“No one person can replace John Horgan,” said Parmar at the podium yesterday. “But together we can build on all that he’s accomplished.”
“Government should be, must be, about making life better for people,” said Parmar in his nomination acceptance speech.
Parmar said BC faces big challenges such as rising costs, the housing crisis, the doctor shortage and supporting a clean economy.
He looped back into the education file with reference a few times to the new Royal Roads University set to open in Langford in September 2024. “It’s so critical that every child has the opportunity to meet their dreams,” said Pamar, who told Island Social Trends after the speech that — if elected as MLA — he looks forward to regular conversations with Education and Child Care Minister Rachna Singh about schools in fast-growing communities like the west shore.
“Everything is left at risk if Kevin Falcon and the BC United get their way,” said Parmar, returning to hyper-partisan remarks for the BC NDP crowd. “The BC United will take us backwards, back to a time where we don’t want to go. They will cut things people in our communities depend on, work for those at the top, and leave everyone else behind,” said Parmar.
In an interview with Island Social Trends, Parmar listed off the NDP MLAs over the years from this region who have made a contribution to the broader BC political landscape, including the late Frank Mitchell, as well as Moe Sihota, Rick Kasper and John Horgan.
Meanwhile, Horgan says he has “this and that” organized for activities or employment in the private sector as the end of his political career fades into the past. “But the private sector doesn’t need more talkers, I was told,” said Horgan yesterday, perhaps in jest.
By-election still to be called:
The by-election date in Langford-Juan de Fuca has not yet been called by Premier David Eby. Within Elections BC guidelines, a by-election must be called within six months of an MLA stepping down (in this case, by September 30). Horgan officially left his MLA post on March 31, 2023 after holding the west shore riding since 2005.
If Parmar wins:
If Parmar wins the 2023 by-election he will immediatley become part of the sitting BC NDP government in the BC Legislative Assembly.
Parmar’s competition in the by-election is so far two women candidates who are both new to the realm of elected politics: Camille Currie for the BC Green Party and Elena Lawson for the BC United Party. Currie’s run was announced on April 6 and her campaign office opening in Langford will be held on May 15. Lawson’s run for the seat was announced May 10 in Langford.
Riding shift for 2024:
The current riding boundary of Langford-Juan de Fuca will not exist for the next provincial election which is scheduled for October 2024. The new boundary creates Langford-Highlands and Juan de Fuca-Malahat (Sooke, Metchosin, Juan de Fuca, Malahat), so whoever wins this year’s Langford-Juan de Fuca by-election will next year lose any voters from Sooke they will have had this time around.
As people left the church hall revved up for their candidate, the door-knocking around Langford-Juan de Fuca began in earnest. “This is going to be your classic New Democrat campaign where we’re gonna hit the doors and talk to as many people as we can and get out the vote. Those are the things that matter,” said Parmar.
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]. As of 2023 she 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 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.