Ex-CBC host Roberts seeks Green nomination in Victoria

Update

Andrew Reeve, Victoria’s Liberal Party riding president said Monday the party’s two potential nomination candidates, pending a background check  are: Adam Stirling, an economics student at the University of Victoria who is also a fill-in host and news reader at CFAX 1070 radio; and Cheryl Thomas (formerly Blaney), a business person who does contract work for UVic’s Gustavson School of Business and is a past sessional instructor at the university. The nomination race is expected to be held in late February or early March, Reeve said.

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Victoria could become the scene of another electoral battle to see who is the greenest candidate with an announcement due today from former CBC host Jo-Ann Roberts that she is seeking the Green Party’s federal nomination.

Roberts is scheduled to make her announcement at the Sitka store, 570 Yates Street, at 10 a.m.

If Roberts wins the nomination — no one else is seeking selection as yet — she will face incumbent Victoria NDP MP Murray Rankin.

In 2012, the NDP retained Victoria in a tight byelection against the Greens. It was prompted by the retirement of NDP MP Denise Savoie. The Conservatives trailed a distant third followed by the Liberals in fourth.

Rankin knocked off Green opponent Donald Galloway in a contest that was fought on sewage treatment.

Rankin said funding was in place and secondary treatment should go ahead, while Galloway wanted to look at alternatives but keep the funding. Conservative Dale Gann wanted to look at alternatives within the funding, and Liberal Paul Summerville balked at the $782-million secondary treatment plant, saying it was unnecessary.

Rankin, who was appointed health critic in a shuffle of the Opposition shadow cabinet on Friday, said he loves a vibrant democracy and looks forward to going up against Roberts if she wins the nomination. “This is going to be a very exciting race and I hope people will look at my record,” Rankin said.

“We are trying to change the government and I hope [voters will] conclude we’re the ones to do it.”

Green party Leader Elizabeth May said in an interview on Friday she is elated that Roberts is seeking the nomination.

“Obviously, she is a stellar candidate,” May said. “I have come to know her and appreciate her commitment to public broadcasting.”

In December, Roberts retired as the host of CBC Radio One’s Victoria-based All Points West, a position she had held since 2004.

Roberts is married to the Downtown Victoria Business Association’s general manager, Ken Kelly.

May is not concerned that Roberts may be viewed as a one-issue candidate with a pro-CBC platform.

Having strong nominees and candidates from different backgrounds will help the party be seen as more than a one-issue party, May said.

“None of us are one-issue people, so just because she is passionate about the CBC does not mean she doesn’t care about health care and First Nations rights and pipelines and tankers,” May said.

The Conservative Party is aiming for a nomination race with an announcement expected within weeks, said Peter Rowand, a member of the Victoria electoral district association board. “We’re in the final stages.”

Andrew Reeve, Victoria’s Liberal Party riding president, said two prominent people had submitted nomination papers and a third is undecided. The two in the race are a business professor and a media personality.

Reeve would not name them. The undecided person is a businessman, he said.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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