Candidates I Support (but do not always agree with)
It has been said that the federal government has the resources, the provincial government has the responsibility and the municipal government has the consequences.
Victoria City is part of the CRD and whether it is healthcare, climate initiatives, housing, schools, or City services from bylaws to police, there are strings attached to higher levels of government. Lobbyists such as the Urban Development Institute are behind the scenes as are the large developers and REITs (buying up affordable rental buildings and market-based housing) and they can play with the strings non-transparently, including supporting candidates. Finding a candidate you can fully support for office in this election is difficult due to the sheer number of people that are running. If elected, I will work with people of any stripe to seek sustainable solutions to the complex issues we face, and I will listen. I am truly independent, but I have been asked who I would vote for.
Candidates I support
I use my platform as a screening tool, and you need to have your own (see Candidate Comparison Tools on this website). The person I vote for also needs to live in Victoria, but that is not enough. Long term residents hold the city in their bones, and have a better sense of what is being lost. History in this community matters.
Given the above, I agree with most of Steve Orcherton’s platform. With vast community experience and having been an NDP MLA, Steve has the skills and the contacts to get things moving at the provincial and federal level, which we desperately need. I believe in neighbourhood associations, and Marg Gardiner has been president of the James Bay Neighbourhood Association (on leave for the election) for many years and knows the zoning bylaws and municipal issues more thoroughly than any candidate running. Together they have the ability to know which strings to pluck at the municipal, provincial and federal levels.
Anyone who has supported or continues to support blanket up zoning for condo towers or mass densification as a panacea to solve urban sprawl in Langford or the climate or housing crises is off my list, but they may not be for you. I urge you to check out all candidates platforms, especially those above.
I support Ben Isitt and/or Chris Coleman for continuity and experience on council. Ben is the only incumbent running. He has taken stands on a variety of issues he hasn’t needed to, and this is not entirely a bad thing. Ben also appreciates how globalization is making the poor to working middle class and our natural systems expendable. His positions on the big issues facing us have been firm. Chris Coleman is a self-described centrist with a huge past experience on council and in the community.
Many new candidates with well-financed campaigns advocate for contradictory policies. For example, running on an environmental platform while plastering public space with plastic and metal signs makes it hard for me to trust in their proposed versions of sustainability. Further contradictions seen in many platforms include strong support for blanket up-zoning for the existing MMI initiative while strongly supporting preserving urban trees on private and public lands or strong virtue-signalling advocacy for the unhoused right to sleep and at the same time being strongly against involuntary care or police involvement.
Incongruous positions and value signalling abound, and I do not support candidates who have blatant discrepancies! There are also PPC and VIVA Victoria candidates who have well-thought-out views on single or multiple issues, which can distract citizens from some of their less obvious positions on a variety of other topics. I believe all well-explained positions should be given consideration no matter who they come from.
There is no harm in only voting for candidates you really believe in even if you can only find four or five.
Candidate for Mayor
I will be voting for Stephen Andrew for mayor as he has a far more expanded and detailed platform since he first ran on crime and safety.
My decision for mayor is more of a political calculation as to who has a real chance to win. I also appreciate the positions of a number of the other hopefuls.
Marianne Alto and the previous council have initiated programs which the City is better off for, but approving condo towers and all other development beyond the scale acceptable to residents is a dealbreaker for me. She has a strong record of service in this community. In many ways Marianne Alto would be the best candidate for mayor, but she has not taken a step back from the existing blanket up-zone, MMI-as-is platform. In a tie she would be casting the deciding vote. Stephen has a different position on this but he did vote for 902 Foul Bay, which could have been restricted to David Eby’s position that new development include the old buildings footprint, saving many trees in this instance and remnant Garry Oak ecosystem
My position of density-through- home-renovation is more in keeping with David Eby’s (which requires duplexes and triplexes on the same footprint, saving urban trees) and also with Stephen Andrew’s. I also agree with Stephen Andrew’s platform on crime/safety, policing and housing.
I may not get elected, but I’ll be happy to enjoy my retirement if I think the people that are elected, candidates with the experience and capability to work with the CRD and higher levels of government, fashion better solutions to the complex problems we face, while preserving heritage. As I said in my platform, “Ecological restoration as part of city planning is a form of respect and reconciliation,” and there is much more than that to do.