On the eve of nominations opening for those running for municipal councils around the province, two Greater Victoria councillors announced they won’t run be running in October.
Two-term Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday, and first-timer Saanich Coun. Ned Taylor, who was elected in Saanich as a 19-year-old in 2018, both announced this week they would not seek re-election this fall.
In Victoria, Loveday’s decision means council may have only three familiar faces after the Oct. 15 election. Councillors Charlayne Thornton-Joe, Geoff Young, Sharmarke Dubow and Mayor Lisa Helps have all opted out of this year’s race, while councillors Marianne Alto and Stephen Andrew are both running for the mayor’s seat.
Loveday said he always planned to serve for just two terms, but considered running again to ensure continuity amid the large amount of turnover on council. He said he agonized over the decision but opted not to run in the end.
“It really came down to making a decision that was best for me and the trajectory of my life,” he said.
Loveday said he’s proud of his work on housing issues like the Capital Regional District’s housing-first initiative, which invests in affordable housing projects, and transportation projects like the city’s cycling-lane network and free transit passes for youth in the city, as well as the role he played on council.
“I do hold my head up high looking back and knowing that I did my best to lead with integrity and compassion and thoughtfulness, and to try to make people feel respected and heard, even if they don’t agree with the decisions that I’m making,” he said.
“I cherish the experience that I had in terms of getting to meet so many amazing people in our community and to make a difference.”
Asked if the anger often directed at politicians in the current environment played a role in his decision, Loveday would only say it’s something everyone should be concerned about.
“I’d be lying to say that it’s not hard to be on the blunt end of that as an elected official these days, but it’s worse for women. It’s worse for people of colour. It’s worse for people from the LGBTQ community. I know that I haven’t gotten it as bad as some.”
Everyone plays a role in ensuring public debate doesn’t just involve the loudest or angriest voices, which are often the most close-minded, he said.
“I think there are ways for us to show up and listen to each other even if, and particularly when, we have different views on things, while still recognizing each other’s humanity and recognizing that most people are just trying to do what they think is best.”
As for the massive turnover coming to Victoria council, Loveday said it offers both risk and opportunity. “I hope that whoever is elected is thoughtful and compassionate and listens to staff, as they are the experts on the many issues that they will be presented with.
“I hope that people will just come in with an open mind and be ready to serve.”
In Saanich, Taylor said his decision not to run again was influenced by a number of factors, including his plans to pursue his pilot’s licence and seek a career in aviation.
“Politics is a consuming thing and being an elected official is a consuming role and four years is not a short amount of time,” he said.
Taylor called his four years on council a “dream come true” and said he takes pride in his efforts to accelerate and expand action on climate change in Saanich and the region, along with his work on housing issues and urging more investment in pedestrian infrastructure.
Asked if a return to three-year terms for municipal councils would have made a difference in his decision, Taylor said the number-one reason he hears from young people not considering a run for office is they can’t commit to a four-year term.
“I do think that a three-year election cycle at the municipal level could mean more young people and people of diverse backgrounds run for office,” he said.
Taylor’s Saanich colleague Rebecca Mersereau previously announced she will not run again this fall.
The nomination period for people wanting to run for municipal council begins today at 9 a.m. and runs until Sept. 9.
In Victoria, nomination packages can be picked up in the Legislative Services Office at City Hall or online at victoria.ca/election.
Completed nomination packages, plus a $100 nomination deposit, must be submitted in person at that office during the nomination period.
To schedule an appointment, call 250-361-0571 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Saanich, nomination packages are available at the district’s Legislative Services Division in Saanich Municipal Hall. An electronic copy is available upon request by emailing email@example.com.
Nomination documents must be filed by Sept. 9 to the chief election officer at the Legislative Services Division.
To make an appointment, call 250-475-5501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
>>> To comment on this article, write a letter to the editor: email@example.com