Wednesday February 10, 2021 | COLWOOD, BC
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
Randall Garrison has been declared by the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke (ESS) NDP Riding Association as their candidate. That happened over Zoom on Sunday February 7 when many people were possibly embedded in Super Bowl online/watching activities.
The three-term incumbent MP (first elected in 2011, then re-elected in 2015 and 2019) cited his legislative work in Ottawa as the NDP’s Defence, Justice, and Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Critic (SOGIE) and the advocacy that he does for constituents, especially as they face the COVID-19 pandemic, as his reasons for seeking the nomination.
Although Garrison stated that the NDP does not want an election during this critical time for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he is ready to launch a winning campaign if the Liberal Government decides to trigger an election.
Garrison says he is proud of the “NDP’s record of fighting hard and winning important measures that Canadians needed during COVID-19” such as the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), paid sick leave, increases to OAS and GIS, and the benefit for post secondary students. He looks forward to continuing to serve with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.
Garrison has worked effectively and collaboratively in federal office to advance causes ranging from adequate funding for Canadian Armed Forces Members, watershed and ocean protection, and SOGIE rights. He has been a vocal opponent of the Trans Mountain expansion project for since his time on Esquimalt Council (2008-2011).
In the current 43rd parliamentary session, Garrison has put forward several private members bills and motions including a bill to protect more Canadians from intimate partner violence, a bill removing barriers for Canadian Armed Forces Members suffering from mental health challenges to access support, and a motion calling for a crown corporation to reinvest fossil fuel subsidies in renewable energy. Garrison looks forward to continuing to work on these legislative initiatives and others.
The Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke federal riding includes the municipalities of Colwood, View Royal, Esquimalt and Sooke and a chunk of Saanich, as well as western communities like East Sooke, Metchosin and the Juan de Fuca unincorporated area west of Sooke out as far as Jordan River. The riding also includes the Esquimalt Indian Reserve, New Songhees Indian Reserve No. 1A, T’Sou-ke Indian Reserve and Becher Bay Indian Reserve No. 1.
Garrison carried the west shore federal riding relatively easily in 2011 and 2015, with more of a fight in the 2019 election when three other major parties (Liberals, Conservatives and Greens) brought in their ‘big guns’ to try and gain in-roads into the NDP stronghold that has been built on Vancouver Island over the last couple of decades.
Key issues within the riding currently include employment and small business (pandemic-impacted), environmental (particularly ocean and coastal), and food sustainability, industry (including ship building), forestry, fisheries, and endangered species (such as salmon and southern resident killer whales). The area also has prominent First Nations communities with whom various levels of government have developed working relationships with.