Victoria Coun. Laurel Collins has won the NDP nomination in the Victoria riding for this fall’s federal election.
Collins defeated political scientist Sabina Singh in a vote at Alix Goolden Hall Wednesday night.
The nomination meeting was triggered when NDP MP Murray Rankin announced in February that he will not seek a third term in office.
“It’s an incredible feeling to have people put their trust in me to be their voice in Ottawa,” Collins said following the vote.
The University of Victoria instructor said she plans to continue to stand up for climate leadership and affordable housing and to push for universal child care and pharmacare.
“A lot of my work prior to municipal politics — whether it was working with the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Refugees in northern Uganda or working with Victoria Women in Need with women who have experienced violence — has direct correlation to federal issues, to international issues, to issues that matter most to Canadians,” she said.
Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto, who spoke in support of Collins, said her fellow councillor has embraced the city’s reconciliation efforts with the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.
“I really believe that this is a defining moment in our history as Canadians, and the fact that she has wholeheartedly embraced that as part of her platform speaks a great deal about her integrity and the issues that are important to her,” Alto said,
Collins, who first won a seat on Victoria city council last fall, said Wednesday night that she will continue in that role until just before the federal writ drops and then take an unpaid leave to campaign.
“If I’m successful, I will step down from my council position,” she said.
Collins acknowledged that she has “massive shoes” to fill in replacing Rankin, who last year was nominated by his peers for the title of hardest-working parliamentarian.
“He’s actually one of the people who first got me into politics and into advocacy for civil liberties,” she said.
Rankin told reporters that Collins will make a wonderful candidate.
“I think we have an experienced person who cares obviously deeply about Indigenous issues and the environment,” he said.
Rankin advised Collins to get a new pair of running shoes for door-knocking and to avoid complacency despite the NDP’s five consecutive victories in the riding.
“It’s never safe,” he said. “I had two hard-fought campaigns and I think that we can take nothing for granted, although I must say I’m proud of the fact that I believe I’m leaving the ship in pretty good shape.”