Politics has an interesting way of threading itself through every aspect of an individual’s life, and for that reason, Veronica Greer is aiming to shake things up when she runs for a seat on Esquimalt council this fall.
Greer, a former candidate for the Green Party (Surrey-Panorama), made history as one of four transgender people to run in the 2017 provincial election.
Now she’s bringing that experience to the municipal arena, tackling the issues through an LGBTQ lens.
“It’s one thing to run provincially or federally, but really down at the local, municipal level, is where you can actually have the biggest impact,” says Greer, a single parent of two, who lives and works in Esquimalt.
As a trans woman with a disability, Greer considers herself part of the growing number of low-income earners in the region. Working part time at Tim Hortons, she is also a distance education student enrolled at the Vancouver College of Counsellor Training.
“That’s what I know because that’s who I am, but I want people to know that’s not the only community I can advocate for,” she says.“I will always listen to everyone in my riding and make sure their voices are heard.”
With the potential to fill one of three seats – councillors Burton-Krahn, Low and Liberchuk will not seek re-election – Greer would be the first openly transgender candidate in Esquimalt history.
One challenge the former Victoria resident faces in a tight-knit place like Esquimalt, is that she’s a relatively new face. Greer moved back to the community mid-2017 to be closer to family while she transitioned.
But, she sees that as an advantage, to breathe some new life into council chambers.
And, thanks to the power of social media, she’s already connected with residents via Facebook, asking what it is they’d like to see an elected representative work toward, on their behalf.
“I got some great feedback, and I’m grateful for that,” she says, noting affordable housing, better roads and improved transit topped the list of priorities. “Getting out, talking to people, being at events is still the best thing I can do.”
As for her own platform, attracting more of the local business community is a vision Greer shares with Mayor Barb Desjardins and the current council.
“A lot of people are very upset that the Tudor doesn’t exist anymore and there’s no local place to have a drink and congregate together,” says Greer, who hopes initiatives like the revitalization tax exemption will provide more incentive to set up shop in the Township.
Esquimalt is very unique in its identity, it’s different than other municipalities in the region geographically in that it doesn’t have the advantage to sprawl the way Langford has, she explains.
“We can’t expand more, we can just build up,” she says, pointing to proposed developments like one slated for Head Street, recently denied zoning to build 12 storeys high.
“Development needs to grow for our economy and for Esquimalt to be a hub in its own right.”
The B.C. municipal election is Oct. 20.