Economy, transit among top issues in Sooke

Federal candidates in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke do a lot of door knocking to uncover local issues

If you’re a politician hoping to get elected, you need to do a lot of doorknocking. By doing so, you learn first hand what’s on the minds of your constituents.

Federal candidates in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding have sore knuckles from the amount of doorknocking they’ve been doing in Sooke, and while there are unique issues in Sooke, others are debated nationwide.

The top issues in Sooke? The economy, transit, transportation and the want for the change.

NDP MP Randall Garrison said what he’s hearing on the doorstep is people want a change in government and are worried about the economy.

“Everyday life is getting harder and harder. People are working harder and harder and find themselves falling behind. It’s time for some change now,” he said.

Garrison said many people are looking for stable, longterm employment, adding that the Conservatives failed on that point with the delay of the national ship-building strategy.

The job plan would boost the B.C. shipbuilding industry and offer well-paying jobs over the next 20 to 30 years.

Liberal candidate David Merner is also receiving feedback on improving the economy and the transportation infrastructure.

The Liberals have unveiled a major infrastructure investment plan committed to investing in public transit. No other party, said Merner, has made the same kind of commitment.

“We see it as a really important issue in our riding.”

Green Party candidate Frances Litman is also embracing the idea of better transit.

“Infrastructure, like transportation, is something we can address. We can have a public transit system that is integrated, well thought out and frequent,” she said.

Litman said Sooke residents are also concerned about emergency preparedness and have voice their concern for a change in government.

Conservative candidate Shari Lukens did not respond to numerous interview requests.

A recent telephone poll commissioned by the Dogwood Initiative an environmental group that opposes oil tanker traffic on B.C.’s coast, suggests 42 per cent of residents would vote for the NDP, followed by the Conservatives at 14 per cent, the Greens at 13 per cent and the Liberals at 12 per cent. Other parties account for three per cent and the undecideds are at 16 per cent.

More than 300 people were contacted. The data was statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region.