The pool of candidates for Victoria’s upcoming municipal election just got bigger. NewCouncil.ca, a citizen-led online initiative that promised representatives in October 2017 finally announced their candidates on Friday.
Stephen Hammond will run for mayor, while Randie Johal, Andrew Reeve and Gary Alberts will run for council.
Hammond is trained in law, specializing in labour and employee relations. While he was called to the bar in 1988 and worked for many years, he no long practises law. Instead, he focuses on a business he’s owned for 27 years, called Harassment Solutions Inc., which aims to improve workplace behavior and minimize harassment and bullying.
Hammond and his husband of 11 years, Jack Boomer, live in Victoria, and through their experiences have come to believe that change needs to happen.
“Over the past several days, more people have been talking about our municipal governance than I have ever seen,” Hammond said . “People are fired up, and fed up with a Mayor and Council that doesn’t listen to residents. Whether or not you agree with taking down the statue of Sir John A Macdonald, you cannot deny that the way this decision was made lacked transparency, and is just another example in a long list of instances where due process was not respected by our Council.”
Randie Johal recently retired from her 33 years working as a manager for BC transit; she worked in the operations department, focusing on collective agreements between employees and unions.
Johal retired on May 28, but by July she knew she needed to do more.
“I realized that I want to give back to the community, I feel energy and have a lot of ideas myself, but I also want to hear what the people have to say,” Johal said.
Johal believes Victoria’s largest issue is transportation, including the bike lanes.
She lives in Victoria with her husband of 35 years.
Andrew Reeve is NewCouncil.ca’s millennial representative, but at just age 26 he holds a lot of experience. He is the chairman of the Threshold Housing Society, a local organization that provides youth at risk of homelessness with transitional housing and life skills. He also currently works in communications at the B.C. Legislature, and previously was the director of communications and government relations for the Trust for Sustainable Development.
Reeve previously ran for Victoria City Council in 2014, and received over 4,000 votes.
For Reeve, his biggest concern is the housing crisis.
“I think it’s time that we got a new generation of leadership on board,” he said. “Seeing the way that council has been operating for the past decades has been troubling… you have councillors who have been on council for two decades.
“They’re making decisions that, now that I’m an adult and looking at rent, the decisions that they made then and continue to make have disenfranchised an entire generation from being able to participate in living here.”
Gary Alberts is also running for council under the NewCouncil.ca umbrella, but he made his announcement early and was featured in a previous article.
The council candidates are running against Grace Lore, Laurel Collins, Sharmarke Dubow, Sarah Potts, Jordan Reichert, Anna King and Marg Gardiner.
In the mayoral race, Hammond is running against incumbent mayor Lisa Helps, Gary Beyer, Rob Duncan and Sean Leitenberg.
To find out more, you can visit newcouncil.ca