Provincial election kicks off on Vancouver Island

Candidates gearing up in race to May 9 election

Provincial election kicks off on Vancouver Island

Candidates in Greater Victoria are getting ready to hit the campaign trail as the 27th provincial election officially kicked off earlier this week.

During a visit to Government House Tuesday, Premier Christy Clark dissolved the legislature and began the 28-day race to voting day on May 9 in 87 constituencies across the province.

The race begins in Vancouver Island’s 15 ridings as well.

The Victoria-Beacon Hill riding is traditionally an NDP seat, that’s been held by incumbent Carole James since 2005. B.C. Liberal Karen Bill, a public policy specialist who more recently was the senior advisor to the minister of agriculture, is taking her second shot at the riding, after losing to James in the 2013 election.

Kalen Harris, a local entrepreneur who moved to Victoria 13 years ago for university, is representing the Green Party.

In the Victoria-Swan Lake riding, NDP incumbent Rob Fleming will take on the Green Party’s Chris Maxwell, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia and co-lead for the B.C. Children’s Hospital’s childhood cancer and blood research group.

B.C. Liberal Stacey Piercy also joins the mix. The business owner and human rights advocate has an economics degree and business administration from Memorial University, and is a volunteer with a number of LGBTQ groups in the region.

The Esquimalt-Royal Roads riding has changed since the last provincial election. The new riding, Esquimalt-Metchosin, includes Metchosin, Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood and the southern half of the Highlands, but no longer includes Vic West.

NDP MLAMaurine Karagianis (and former Esquimalt councillor) has held the seat in the riding for the past 11 years, but announced her retirement from politics in September of last year.

Her successor, Mitzi Dean, executive director of the Pacific Centre Family Services Association, is going up against B.C. Liberal Barb Desjardins, who is temporarily taking off her hat as Esquimalt mayor and chair of the Capital Regional District, to take her first stab at provincial politics.

Long-time Metchosinite Andy MacKinnon, a retired biologist and forest ecologist is representing the Green Party, while Josh Steffler is representing the Libertarian Party.

Eligible voters can begin voting today, by requesting a mail-in voting package on the Elections B.C. website or calling 1-800-661-8683.

Check out the Victoria News in the coming weeks for candidate profiles.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com

Sidebar:

The BC Liberals released their election platform Monday, promising four more balanced budgets and repeating commitments made in the February budget, including a 50 per cent reduction in medical services premiums starting in 2018.

The NDP releases its full platform Thursday, building on promises to set up $10-a-day child care province-wide and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The Greens have an even more ambitious child care plan, with daycare at no cost and expansion of kindergarten to include three- and four-year-olds.

BC Election 2017