Four NDPers vie to represent Victoria

Once the New Democrats select their candidate in a nomination race on Sunday, at least three hopefuls will be digging into the unofficial federal byelection race to represent Victoria.

Victoria NDP MP Denise Savoie retired in August. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has yet to call a date for the byelection.

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In the race for the NDP nomination are Elizabeth Cull, Victoria business owner and former provincial finance and health minister; Victoria environmental law expert and University of Victoria professor Murray Rankin; former Victoria school board trustee Charley Beresford, executive director of the Columbia Institute, a research and public policy institute; and first-term Victoria councillor Ben Isitt.

The NDP nomination meeting starts at 1 p.m. Sunday at the University of Victoria, in the Student Union Building's Michele Pujol Room.

The party's membership is about 1,000 and a debate this week attracted about 400 members.

A large turnout is expected, but it's unknown whether members will stick around for potential second and third-ballot runoffs.

The winner needs 50 per cent plus one of the votes.

Norman Ruff, UVic professor emeritus, said in an interview Friday that being fluently bilingual may give Rankin an advantage given the new makeup of the federal Opposition NDP. Savoie, a Franco-Manitoban, is fluently bilingual.

The Liberals are set to acclaim economist Paul Summerville as their candidate at a nomination meeting today.

Already nominated to represent the Green Party of Canada is UVic law professor Donald Galloway, an advocate of refugee and immigrant rights in Canada.

The Conservative nomination meeting is set for Oct. 20. Patrick Hunt has said he is putting his name forward. Hunt, a Conservative MLA in Nova Scotia from 1978-81, ran as the Conservative candidate in the last federal race in Victoria. He is a business consultant with more than 30 years in the technology industry.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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