Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding profile and candidates

The riding

Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke is a new riding and shares territory with the old Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding. It stretches from Saanich to Jordan River, and includes Esquimalt, Sooke, View Royal, Colwood and Metchosin. Langford is now in another riding.

Vancouver Island has seven ridings for the 2015 election, up from six, due in part to population growth on the Island over the past 10 years. These maps show the Island's old and new riding names and boundaries.

article continues below

Vancouver Island federal ridings, 2011 and 2015

Size: 404 square kilometres

Population (based on 2011 census data): 113,004

Number of electors on list (preliminary): 87,281

Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP: Randall Garrison, NDP

In the past: Keith Martin held Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca for 18 years, first with the Reform Party, then Canadian Alliance and Liberal.

2011 results in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca

• The riding boundaries have changed, so the ridings aren't the same.

• In 2011 in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, the NDP’s Randall Garrison beat Conservative Troy DeSouza by just 406 votes.

• The new boundaries — which exclude Langford — make the riding more NDP-friendly: If everyone in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke voted as they did in 2011, the NDP would win by 1,019 votes.


The 2015 candidates

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name. 

Randall Garrison, NDP




Twitter: @R_Garrison

NDP candidate Randall Garrison is seeking a second term in office, having won in 2011 in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca — now the reconfigured Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding.

“The nature of the riding hasn’t really changed, although it’s smaller,” said Garrison, the Opposition’s public safety critic and LGBT critic.

“It’s got lots of young families who are concerned about affordable housing and childcare, it’s got lots of seniors who are concerned about health care and making ends meet, and it’s got four First Nations.

“So it’s really very diverse.”

Garrison, who has called Esquimalt home for almost 30 years, enjoyed a long career in the classroom.

“I taught criminal justice for 20 years at Camosun College,” he said. “And then I did international human-rights observer work in conflict zones.”

Garrison also spent time on Esquimalt council.

He has a number of reasons for seeking re-election.

“First and foremost, right now I’m running to defeat the Harper government because I’ve been there for four years, I’ve seen all the damage they’ve done,” Garrison said. “Every NDP seat will count.”

In 2011, Garrison held off Conservative Troy DeSouza by 406 votes, getting 40.9 per cent of votes to DeSouza’s 40.2 per cent. He said he is eager to return to the nation’s capital.

“I have some unfinished business in Ottawa. I led the NDP opposition to Bill C-51 and I want to go back and make sure that bill is repealed.”

Local employment is also a pressing issue, Garrison said. “I worked very hard on getting shipbuilding jobs for this riding that were promised by the Conservatives, and they’re now almost two years late. I’d like to go back and make sure we get those.”

Frances Litman, Green Party




Twitter: @franceslitman

Frances Litman, 53, has spent most of her life in the riding she hopes to represent as an MP.

“I’ve lived in the riding for 50 years,” she said. “I’ve gone to school in Saanich and I currently live in Esquimalt. I’m a graduate of Reynolds High School.”

The photographer and small-business owner said she has not been involved in politics before but has been an active citizen.

“I’ve been a community organizer and an advocate for the underdog,” Litman said. She is also the founder of the annual Creatively United for the Planet Festival, an event held during Earth Week.

Her efforts with the festival led to a Capital Regional District EcoStar Award for environmental achievement and a pair of Victoria Leadership Award nominations.

Litman decided it was time to run for political office.

“I’m very concerned with our current state of affairs,” she said. “I feel that we’re completely losing our democracy.

“The Green Party platform just makes so much sense. They have a fully costed budget.”

Litman said running for the Green Party is about “wanting to make a difference.”

“I often tell people if it was about money or power, you wouldn’t run for the Green Party.”

She said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has been a great mentor to her.

“Next to Elizabeth May, I think I’d be one of the hardest-working MPs anyone could ever hire. I truly, truly care about where I live and the people in this region.”

“I’m just rarin’ to go.”

She said the people who live there make the riding a special place.

“We’ve got a lot of hard-working people who are seeing their dollar diminished.”

Shari Lukens, Conservative Party




Twitter: @ShariLukens

Shari Lukens has held a number of jobs in her life, but all of her efforts these days are going into a new position in Ottawa.

“Right now I am 100 per cent, full-time running to be the MP,” said the 52-year-old Lukens, who served as a Colwood councillor from 2011 to 2014.

She said the foundation of her desire to be a Conservative MP is “fiscal responsibility and free enterprise.”

“It’s about representing that free enterprise voice, representing the people of our riding and ensuring they have a voice at the decision-making table.”

Lukens’s working life has included a distinguished career as a figure-skating and power-skating coach. It arose out of her own figure-skating aspirations being cut short by injuries suffered when she was broadsided by a drunk driver.

She then decided it was time for a change and got into broadcast journalism. She and her husband made the move to Vancouver Island in 2005, at which time she was working for Telus. Her husband died in 2006 in a helicopter crash.

Lukens, who was raised on a farm in Alberta, said she is well prepared to be an MP and would bring “a common-sense approach” to office.

“With my diversified background, I’ve had a lot of life experience.”

Different aspects of government have to work together, Lukens said.

“It’s one thing to be able to support the social issues and ensure that they are moving forward, but without jobs and the economy those things don’t happen.”

She said she is struck by the variety in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.

“It’s so vast, from Saanich all the way to Jordan River.”

There is a “wonderful continuity of people” wanting to see leadership, Lukens said.

David Merner, Liberal Party

David Merner.jpg



Twitter: @DavidMerner

Liberal candidate David Merner, a 53-year-old provincial government lawyer, has a deep-rooted association with the Liberals.

“I’ve been a volunteer in the Liberal Party for the past 30 years,” Merner said. “I’ve served on the national board of the Liberal Party of Canada, I’ve served as president of the Liberal Party of Canada in British Columbia.”

He said his main reason for running for federal office is to move Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government “on to new employment.”

“I feel that they’ve been in there too long and it’s time for change.”

Merner, a longtime Victoria resident, is married with four daughters who have all attended Esquimalt’s L’Ecole Victor Brodeur and Spectrum Community School. His wife is also a lawyer, specializing in human rights.

He said he is ready to be an MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke and would speak up for the riding in Ottawa.

“I’m known inside the Liberal Party as somebody who is a strong voice and an independent voice.”

The party has put forward a solid platform, Merner said.

“We are talking about a major infrastructure investment and investment in our economy, and a major jobs program.”

He said the newly reconfigured riding he is seeking to represent has special qualities.

“I think one of the striking things is it’s one of the most spectacularly beautiful places in the world,” Merner said. “It should be a magnet around the world for tourists and for the technology business.

“We have huge potential in our riding and for the south Island as a whole, and I’m very, very optimistic about the future for our riding. It would be exciting to be part of building that future.”

Tyson Strandlund, Communist Party




Twitter: @tysonstandlund

Metchosin-raised Tyson Strandlund is happy to be running in the area where he has spent his entire life.

“This is where I was born and I’ve grown up here,” said the 23-year-old, who has Metis heritage. “So naturally this riding holds particular importance for me.”

Strandlund went to high school at Belmont Secondary and is now at the University of Victoria, where he is studying history.

“I’m a student, but I also play piano and give piano lessons,” he said.

Along with that, Strandlund enjoys gardening and hiking with his dog.

He said the Communist Party of Canada offers a viable choice for voters.

“We’re in the middle of an environmental and economic crisis, and I think the only hope for my generation is socialism.”

While he has not run for office before, he has been active for his chosen cause.

“I’m an organizer for the Young Communist League here in Victoria, but otherwise this is my first time doing something like this.”

He said he is running because he thinks his party can make a difference.

“I am just tired of seeing corporations control the politics and the economics of our society,” he said. “And I want a free and democratic society with more opportunities for working-class people and students.”

That goal is linked to the battle against climate change, Strandlund said.

“Until we can gain democratic control over our industries and our economy, then we can’t really rein this in.”

Strandlund also stands for the elimination of tuition fees.

“The Communist Party calls for free universal education and wiping student debt,” he said.

What they're saying on Twitter

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist