Andrew Weaver was elected as the province’s first Green MLA in 2013, defeating Liberal incumbent Ida Chong, who had been in a tight race with the NDP in the previous election. Weaver, who captured about 40 per cent of the vote in 2013, faces four challengers: New Democrat Bryce Casavant, who gained fame after refusing to kill two bear cubs as a conservation officer; Liberal Alex Dutton, a lawyer and debate coach; Jin Yang-Riley, an engineer running for the Vancouver Island Party; and Xaanja Ganja Free, a recent University of Victoria graduate running for the 4BC party.
The riding has gained some area west of Foul Bay Road and in the Gonzales area. You can compare the old and new boundaries here.
Bryce Casavant, NDP
Has a partner and a four-year-old daughter. Born in Comox; age 34. Lives outside the riding in James Bay. With the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations as a senior compliance and enforcement specialist. Formerly a conservation officer; was suspended and transferred for refusing to kill two bear cubs after their mother was put down.
Making a difference: Has taken on local issues like derelict boats and pushing for Nathan Bodie, an autistic student, to be able to take part in the University of Victoria graduation ceremony. Involved with environmental issues such as the grizzly-bear hunt.
Main issue: Affordability, including housing and health care. He has seen the effect of failed environment policies, believes it’s time for change.
Inspiration: An officer who looked out for him and guided him during his time in the army.
Alex Dutton, Liberal Party
Born in Victoria. Lived in the riding 1986-2015, then moved to Victoria. Intends to move back when circumstances permit. Not married and no children. Lawyer for seven years; age 35.
Making a difference: Dealing with derelict boats, former volunteer at Mustard Seed Food Bank, Island Health’s ethics committee, board of governors at Glenlyon Norfolk School, debate coach at Glenlyon Norfolk, Power to Be governance committee. Was a mentor to a University of Victoria business student.
Main issue: Health care, especially the issue of primary care. The B.C. Liberals are committed to training more doctors, nurses and licensed practical nurses. She loves the community and it’s her home, and she wants to keep creating jobs through the Liberals.
Inspiration: Her late mother, who had strength, grace and humility and taught her to be fair but firm, and stand up for what she believes in.
Xaanja Ganja Free, 4BC
Married with four children. Age 41, born in Canada. Has lived in the riding for almost two years. A recent graduate of the University of Victoria with a degree in art history. She describes herself as a mother, a wife, an artist and a poet.
Making a difference: Made a difference by recently covering up an offensive sign. Says she might not be active in the “community spotlight,” but does a lot in her area, such as supporting the crossing guards at Frank Hobbs Elementary School. No political experience, just a mom who knows things have to change.
Main issue: Financial transparency — so we can see where money is spent — and affordable living. She has hope and sees programs that need to change, including income assistance. She calls applying for income assistance a “ridiculous process of frustration.”
Andrew Weaver, Green Party (incumbent)
Born in Victoria; age 55. Married with two children. Has lived in the riding for much of his life. Was a University of Victoria professor beginning in 1992 at the school of earth and ocean sciences.
Making a difference: Helping people as an MLA, something that is done without a lot of song and dance. Was heavily involved in the international climate-science community, created a program to put weather stations at schools all over the Island, coached soccer and served on parent advisory councils.
Main issue: Affordability. The prices of houses are increasing rapidly, and post-secondary students are having trouble finding accommodation they can afford. The B.C. Greens can play a critical role in the province, whether as government or holding the governing party to account.
Inspiration: His mentors in science, Lawrence Mysak, Jason Middleton and Ed Sarachik.
Jin Yang-Riley, Vancouver Island Party
Born in China, emigrated to Victoria in 2007; age 53. Married with a daughter and three stepchildren. Lives outside the riding in the Swan Lake area. Doesn’t see it as a problem because candidates who do live in the riding don’t necessarily know the issues. Registered professional engineer in the field of transportation since 2010. Obtained PhD in 2003.
Making a difference: As a professional transportation engineer, has seen shortages in the Island’s transportation system, and would like to contribute her knowledge to her new homeland.
Main issue: There is no efficient mode of transportation for students and seniors, who form a relatively high percentage of the population. Light rail transit is needed for the entire south Island.
1. Ida Chong (Liberal) — 11,877 votes, 46.53% of total vote
2. Jessica Van der Veen (NDP) — 11,316 votes, 44.34% of total vote
3. Steven Johns (Green) — 2,330 votes, 9.13% of total vote
1. Ida Chong (Liberal) — 13,433 votes, 47.52% of total vote
2. Charley Beresford (NDP) — 12,016 votes, 42.47% of total vote
3. Stephen Hender (Green) — 2,379 votes, 8.41% of total vote
1. Ida Chong (Liberal) — 14,588 votes, 57.31% of total vote
2. Charley Beresford (NDP) — 5,789 votes, 22.74% of total vote
3. Christin Geall (Green) — 4,666 votes, 18.33% of total vote
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