Langford Coun. Lillian Szpak won the federal Liberal nomination for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca

Langford councillor wins Liberal nomination in Esquimalt-JDF

After a collegial but spirited campaign, Langford councillor Lillian Szpak has landed the federal Liberal nomination for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca.

Szpak will be seeking the seat of outgoing six-term Liberal MP Keith Martin in the next federal election. The minority Conservative government is expected to table a budget in the next few months, which could send voters to the polls.

“I feel honoured and delighted to know that eventually I’ll be MP and will get to serve our riding,” Szpak said Tuesday. “At this point its early in the day. I have good experience running an election campaign, but this is another level to learn.”

The 17-year Langford resident and daughter of a Cape Breton coal miner edged out Esquimalt resident and retired fire chief David Hodgins.  

Szpak said she plans to sit down with Martin and her team on how to hash out a federal campaign plan and develop policy, while digging down deeper into issues that touch on the federal arena.

“Jobs and the economy are key, and firming the ground under families,” she said. 

She expects transportation on the West Shore to remain a key issue. A military wife of a soldier who served in Afghanistan, Szpak said she plans to follow in Martin’s footsteps and advocate for the Canadian Forces, military families and veterans.

Current policies, such as lump-sum payments to veterans with certain injuries, might be causing more harm than good, she pointed out. 

“This is something that can be very difficult for veterans to manage,” she said. “I’m well aware of the challenges of our military families and the need for long-term support of our veterans.”

The three-term municipal politician said she’ll keep serving on Langford council until she is sent to Ottawa as MP. If a federal election is called, she would take a leave of absence from council, but otherwise it’s business as usual. Szpak has previously said she plans to run for re-election in Langford this November if she’s not an MP. 

The nomination campaign took Szpak across the sprawling Esquimalt-JDF riding encompasses part of Saanich, the West Shore, Sooke and the JDF electoral area. Much of the campaign work was signing up new federal Liberal members and talking to people in coffee shops and shopping centres.

“You have to be a person connected to the community, and someone who cares and is knowledgeable on the issues,” Szpak said. “The job is about delivering our voice from here to Ottawa, not the other way around.” 

Martin said Szpak is a long-time friend and colleague who would make “an excellent MP.” If he had any advice to offer, he said it would be to remember that constituents come first.

“As MP, stick to your guns,” Martin said. “Know what issues you want to focus on for the community.”

He also noted that the system in the House of Commons rewards “rabid partisanship and mudslinging” that helped drive Martin’s decision not to seek a seventh term. “You might feel like the lonely voice in Ottawa if you offer constructive dialogue,” he said. “Don’t succumb to the allure of mudslinging that’s a dominant feature in Parliament.”

In terms of running a campaign, Martin said he will advise Szpak if she wants, but doubts she’ll need much help.

“Lillian knows what to do for our community,” he said. “She knows the system and the local problems. If she’s elected she’ll be able to take that local knowledge and advance the needs of our community in Ottawa.”

Conservative Troy DeSouza, New Democrat Randall Garrison and Green Shaunna Salsman are also nominated to run in Esquimalt-JDF.

 

Just Posted

Coun. Fred Haynes to run for mayor against Mayor Atwell

Haynes to go head-to-head with Atwell for Saanich mayoral seat in 2018

Bob Heyes back behind Shamrocks bench for 2018 season

Art Webster, Mike Simpson, John Hamilton will also return

UPDATE: Driver escapes from crash in Sidney

Town truck and another vehicle collide, causing van to roll over

Victoria Women’s March draws hundreds

Pink pussy hats aplenty as demonstrators took to downtown streets

FISHING ADVENTURES: Winter fishing season in full swing

Upcoming fishing events include Local Pub’s Salmon Superbowl Derby and Victoria Boat Show

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

Road conditions wreak havoc for Comox Valley drivers

Icy road conditions early Monday morning kept first responders very busy throughout… Continue reading

Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Former Victoria junior Hicketts making his NHL debut tonight

Second-year pro, Kamloops native, called up from Grands Rapids of the AHL

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Most Read