End of an era looming at Oak Bay council

  • Mar. 28, 2011 7:00 p.m.
Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton

Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton

Causton won’t run for mayor again regardless of federal result May 2

It may have been one of the best-kept secrets around Oak Bay.

But Christopher Causton was finally forced by circumstances to announce he doesn’t plan to seek an Oak Bay record sixth term as mayor this fall should he lose the May 2 federal election as Liberal candidate for Victoria.

“I let council know (Saturday) night,” he said of his decision to take a five-week leave of absence from the job and not run for mayor again.

The municipality won’t exactly be rudderless for the campaign period, as Oak Bay’s policy of having an acting mayor each month to take over when the mayor is unavailable will take council through the campaign period.

Of note is the fact the municipality is coming into budget deliberations. Causton, who is chair of the finance committee, will relinquish that role to Coun. Nils Jensen.

On the regional level, the mayor must step aside from two major posts: chair of Capital Regional District Parks and chair of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission. In both cases, the vice-chair will take over his responsibilities.

Oak Bay residents, already faced with the federal election, a civic election in November and a mail-in vote on the HST in June, won’t have to worry about a byelection for the mayor’s job should Causton become Victoria MP.

Under the terms of the Local Government Act, council has the right to decide that no byelection be held to fill a position vacated by a resigned council member in the year of the election.

Causton is comfortable the municipality will be in good hands without him. “I’ve got a really good council.”

As for his campaign, which began with Causton and his team putting up signs on Sunday, he said his priority is “getting out door knocking and introducing myself to people on the doorstep,” and “trying to make this election relevant” for voters in the riding.

The contempt of Parliament motion that brought down the Conservative government last week will start to resonate with voters, he said.

“If you can have contempt of Parliament as a minority, what might you do if you had a majority?” he asked rhetorically.

Causton faces a battle against NDP incumbent and former Victoria city councillor Denise Savoie, who once tossed out the idea of stepping down after two terms but seems re-energized in her role as deputy speaker for the House of Commons.

Other declared candidates so far include Conservative Patrick Hunt, who received his party’s nomination back in the fall of 2009, and the Green Party’s Jared Giesbrecht, who has served as his party’s justice critic since 2007.