Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke: NDP's Randall Garrison holds off challengers

Incumbent Randall Garrison, an NDP MP since 2011, held onto his Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding, holding off challenges from David Merner of the Greens, Liberal Jamie Hammond and Conservative Randall Pewarchuk.

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Garrison, a 69-year-old retired college instructor, said it will be more important than ever to have New Democrats in Parliament “standing up for people.”

“We’ve shown that we’re going to stand up for ordinary working people, young families, seniors,” he said. “We’re going to fight so that everyone has a place to call home that is safe and affordable.

“We’re going to take on the big pharma companies, and hopefully a minority [government] situation will allow us to finally deliver on pharmacare for Canadians.”

Garrison said the NDP will also take on “big oil” and end subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry.

“And we’re going to make sure the super-wealthy pay their fair share. I want to continue working hard for the environment, for human rights, against climate change, for affordability.”

He highlighted his record on the environment and climate change during the campaign, and called climate change a high-profile issue in the riding.

Garrison has been his party’s defence critic — a role he said is important to the riding with the presence of CFB Esquimalt — and is also the party’s spokesman on LGBTQ2+ matters.

He sponsored the bill that extended transgender rights to the Canadian Human Rights Code and the human-rights section of the Criminal Code.

Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke was formed in time for the 2015 election. It takes in 404 square kilometres through a number of municipalities. Garrison was its first MP, earning 35 per cent of the votes to 27.4 per cent by second-place Merner — then of the Liberals.

Merner, a federal Liberal for 34 years, said his disagreement with the Liberals’ environment platform was among the reasons he switched to the Greens this time. He said the Liberals broke too many promises for him to stay in the fold.

Liberal candidate Hammond attended Esquimalt High School and the University of Victoria before going on to a 28-year military career that included commanding Canada’s special operations forces in Afghanistan in 2002. He began considering a run at political office about a year ago, believing that his professional background would serve him well.

Pewarchuk, a dentist, said he ran because of his concern about the country’s finances. He said another big issue for him was that so many people don’t have family doctors.

Garrison first won a seat in the former Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding, which had previously been held for 18 years by Keith Martin. Part of the area it covered is now in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.

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