Election 2015

ELECTION 2015: Long trail begins for MP hopefuls

The electoral playing field is heating up again. Here's a quick summary of what's coming towards Sooke.

You can expect a few more knocks at the door this week with the official launch of the federal election.

So far, five candidates – New Democrat Randall Garrison, Conservative Shari Lukens, Green Frances Litman, Libertarian Josh Steffler and Liberal David Merner – are running in the election.

Candidates will run in the newly created federal riding of Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, hoping to unseat Garrison, the incumbent.

The boundary of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca electoral riding that Garrison represents now is similar to the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding, which includes about 113,000 people in Esquimalt, Colwood, Metchosin, View Royal, Sooke and parts of Saanich.

Given the history of the riding, it’s not surprising the three main parties think they have a shot and the Greens also believe they have a good chance, said Norman Ruff, political scientist and University of Victoria professor emeritus.

Garrison won the Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding with 40.9 per cent of the vote in 2011, just slightly ahead of Conservative Troy DeSouza with 40.2 per cent. The NDP candidate won the hotly contested riding with a 406-vote margin.

In 2008, DeSouza lost by 68 votes.

Prior to that, Keith Martin knocked off former B.C. NDP premier Dave Barrett in 1993 in the first of six election victories, initially with the Reform party, then the Canadian Alliance and eventually as a Liberal in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Litman, a photographer and community advocate, said this campaign will be about “renewing prosperity for all residents, restoring Canadian democracy and defending our coastlines.”

“We’ve been canvassing and door-knocking for several months and voters here are looking for an MP who will be their local champion,” she said.

Garrison is ramping up his campaign this week.

The sitting MP has been door-knocking in the Esquimalt and Saanich areas since Parliament came to an end, but more effort will be focused in Sooke soon.

Garrison said the biggest issues in the riding coming from voters is  need for political change, the economy, childcare and the environment.

“There’s a real appetite for change. It only happened explicity about two weeks with people coming to the door and saying that,” Garrison said.

The federal election is Oct. 19.