Home Election Tracker Federal NDP Sooke Mayor Maja Tait turning from local to federal

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait turning from local to federal

Official acclamation as NDP candidate for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke coming up Aug 31

sooke mayor, maja tait
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait is running will run as the NDP candidate in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke in 2025. Shown here at the Sooke Fine Arts Show, Aug 4, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Tuesday August 15, 2023 | SOOKE, BC [Last updated 12:50 pm on August 16, 2023]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Known primarily as Mayor of the District of Sooke but also for having led the Union of BC Municipalities *UBCM) for a year during the pandemic — Maja Tait is set to be acclaimed as the federal NDP candidate for the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding on the west side of south Vancouver Island.

mayor, maja tait, sooke fine arts
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait at the Sooke Fine Arts Show awards night on August 4, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

It’s really not fresh news… the scuttlebutt about this shift in political momentum has been out there for months on the west shore. Now the news seems to have caught public attention.

Somehow went viral today:

Tait apparently told media today that she is grateful for the acclamation. Well naturally. Ever since former BC Premier John Horgan (then MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) took her aside in 2013 to offer his resolve to move her forward in exchange for Sooke’s support at the provincial level, Tait has been the darling of the Sooke region.

maja tait, ndp
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait [District of Sooke / 2023]

The current MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, Randall Garrison, had a coffee chat with Tait back on April 11, as a soft launch to the local Sooke community as to passing the torch. Tait has told Island Social Trends that she had chatted with Garrison in Ottawa last December when she was there as part of the BC Caucus at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). “We had a great conversation,” says Tait.

“That’s the first time I felt drawn to it,” said Tait today in an interview with Island Social Trends. “It’s inspiring,” she said, in terms of the possible impact she could have for the region on the national level as well as how the Vancouver Island political experience might inform national directions in various areas.

As to a clue to the importance of that little coffee chat, Tait stood up a provincial BC Transit announcement on the BC Legislature grounds that (even though it was about the Route 95 Rapid Bus from the west shore to downtown) was delivered with a Victoria downtown focus by BC Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming, who seemed nonplussed at Tait’s not being there even though she chairs the Victoria Regional Transit Commission. None of the west shore mayors were there that day.

Garrison has been the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke MP since 2011 (re-elected in 2015, 2019 and 2021). Back in April, Randall Garrison announced that he would not be seeking re-election and would be retiring soon.

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Sooke Mayor Maja Tait and Randall Garrison, MP, at the new Sooke Library grand opening ribbon cutting, June 12, 2022. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Gearing to federal election October 2025:

The next federal election is not until October 20, 2025, unless the existing Supply and Confidence Agreement between the Liberal minority government and the federal NDP collapses ahead of that time frame. For a number of strong political reasons it seems in the best interest of both Trudeau and the NDP — as well as for the stability of the economy for Canadians — to keep the current government intact. So Tait has a bit of time to prepare.

MapleLine Business Centre, printing, west shore

Tait has continued all summer to represent the Sooke municipality but with a different bounce in her step. She didn’t mention her federal aspirations in a recent ad-libbed speech at the Sooke Fine Arts Show award night on August 4 in Sooke. She’s been grooming a new personal image in the past year or two with streaks of grey in her long dark hair … a look of sage wisdom peppering her otherwise youthful appearance.

If her eventual federal candidacy results in a win she would be “dedicated to advancing the work of communities”, Tait told Island Social Trends today. “Some issues are the same (across communities). Some get resolved and some never go away,” she mused about her role at a possibel future date. She is used to advocating at the federal level (for BC issues, through FCM), working on behalf of “all local governments” and “scaling as needed”.

“I’m not afraid of hard work, and it is,” said Maja Tait about her vigor and intention to winning and serving at a new level in politics. She’s also prepared for the amount of travel involved. She says she has the complete support of her family (husband and son, and father) to take on this new journey.

Long-time ambitions:

Canada Day Sooke, Premier John Horgan, cutting cake
Cutting Canada Day cakes in Sooke on July 1, 2019 (from left): JdF Director Mike Hicks, Canada Day organizer Judithe Ann Gatto, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, Randall Garrison MP (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke), Premier John Horgan, MLA (Langford-Juan de Fuca), and T’Sou-ke representative Jackie Planes. [Mary P Brooke / West Shore Voice News]

Tait has been the mayor of Sooke since 2014 (re-elected in 2018 and 2022). She also served on Sooke council for two terms before that (2008-2011 and 2011-2014). In addition to being the UBCM President in 2020, she has been lately been chairing the Victoria Transit Commission board.

Tait has built a following among the climate change and net zero community in Sooke for at least 10 years, but began her upward trajectory at the provincial level by hanging her hat onto the health-care issue from a Sooke vantage point, starting around 2016.

She never really showed much interest in politics at the provincial level but the positioning of her political values now seems to align with the federal NDP.

garrison, tait, 2019
Randall Garrison, MP (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) addressed the crowd at a local memorial in Sooke, along with Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, on August 6, 2019 in John Phillips Memorial Park. [West Shore Voice News now Island Social Trends]

It was Garrison who first guided Jagmeet Singh to the leadership of the federal NDP, and it’s likely he orchestrated the connection of Tait into the Singh camp as the 2025 federal election approaches. Singh is hoping to increase the number of NDP seats from the current 25. If Tait were to win, that would hold onto a long-time NDP seat here on Vancouver Island (held by the NDP since 2011).

Tait would not be fully campaigning until the writ drops for the next federal election. And in the meantime plans to continue serving as Sooke’s mayor, a role which has locally become synonymous with her name.

dumont tirecraft, fleet

Official acclamation August 31:

Tait’s official acclamation is scheduled for Thursday August 31 (6:30 pm) at the Victoria Scottish Community Centre (aka Craigflower Community Centre) at 1803 Admirals Road in View Royal.

Garrison and federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh are expected to attend, along with other regional politicians. Registered federal NDP memberships also available at the meeting; registration opens at 6 pm.

If Tait wins at the federal level in 2025, that would leave the mayoral seat open on Sooke council until 2026 (a municipal by-election would likely be called). Current Sooke councillor Kevin Pearson has previously run for mayor but Sooke Counicllor Jeff Bateman’s politics more closely align with Tait’s and he has a high profile in the town of 15,000+ as well.

kevin pearson, maja tait, sooke, election, 2018
Sooke mayoral candidates Kevin Pearson and Maja Tait (incumbent) at the October 11, 2018 District of Sooke All Candidates forum. [Mary P Brooke / then West Shore Voice News now Island Social Trends]

Community comments:

“I am enormously proud of Maja, and her work ethics. She has accomplished much in her role here as Sooke Mayor and UBCM President. This will make her an invaluable advocate for our Region and especially Sooke.” ~ Councillor Kevin Pearson, District of Sooke

“The party and my executive are excited to see Maja Tait acclaimed as our candidate for the upcoming federal election. Ms Tait has a strong record of service, and my team will work hard to ensure her election as MP for Esquimal-Saanich-Sooke.” ~ Grant McLachlan, President, Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke NDP federal district association.

Community comments welcome, email to: editor@islandsocialtrends.com

jdf emergency

===== RELATED:

Garrison calls it quits, riding out his last term (April 27, 2023)

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait to serve as 2019-2020 UBCM president (September 25, 2019)


mary p brooke, headshot, july 2023
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke,

Island Social Trends publishes news of socioeconomic interest at the daily news portal IslandSocialTrends.ca.

Editor and Publisher Mary P Brooke, B.Sc, Cert PR has been covering news from a west shore and Vancouver Island vantage point since 2008. First based out of Sooke, the publication series began as MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then morphed into a weekly newspaper Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), which then expanded to the full-colour weekly newspaper/PDF West Shore Voice News (2014-2020).

Ms Brooke took the publication entirely online at IslandSocialTrends.ca in mid-2020 during the pandemic when there was less access to the print edition out in the community. News is posted daily.

Mary P Brooke is currently doing public speaking on Urban Food Resilience and also the current state of journalism in Canada.