The federal election results are in and while the outcome has obvious impacts on the national level, it’s at the local level that outcomes may be most directly felt.
That observation was on the mind of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait as she considered the re-election of New Democrat Randall Garrison as the MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke.
“Randall has worked very hard for our riding and the outcome of the election is positive news for our community,” said Tait.
“With a minority government in place, the NDP will have more influence over what happens in government. That’s good news for Sooke where we’ll be counting on Randall to be putting forward our needs at a national level.”
Tait pointed to the permanent doubling of the gas tax as one example of how federal policy can directly impact Sooke residents.
“We received $500,000 in gas tax revenue last year. Those are funds that give us the ability to deal with infrastructure challenges without burdening our residents with property taxes,” she said.
“If that were made a regular part of the funding that we could rely upon, it would be great news for our community.”
As the president of the UBCM, Tait will be taking her message to Ottawa later this year where she believes the message of municipalities may get a more positive hearing with the minority government now in place.
It was a sentiment shared by Bob Phillips, the seven-term Sooke school district trustees.
“I’m pleased with the outcome of the election, ” said Phillips.
“A message we give our students is that to be successful, you have to pay attention and work hard. I think that Randall Garrison has done both.”
Even so, Phillips is disappointed that some issues were not fully addressed by any of the candidates during the election campaign.
“We have one of the greatest French immersion populations in the province and that fact was never even mentioned. It would have been nice to hear about federal support for those programs,” he said.
But there were aspects of the election pleased Phillips
One was the participation of the younger generations.
“I’ve been involved in campaigns for a very long time, but when I saw the people lined up to vote last night, there were a lot of younger people. I could see that we’re passing the baton to the next generations, and that’s a very good thing.”
Phillips, who has spent time in Third World nations during his career, noted in many parts of the world people would give their lives to have the freedom to vote. That’s a message that he tries to ensure gets passed along to students in Sooke.
Phillips also observed that Sooke’s riding had a good selection of very well qualified candidates and that the nastiness that seemed to creep into the federal campaign was not evident here.