Victoria MP-elect Rankin has different priorities today

Victoria environmental lawyer no longer a young father

New Victoria MP Murray Rankin was sworn in in Ottawa on Tuesday.

Murray Rankin has no illusions about the job that lies ahead of him as Victoria’s latest member of Parliament.

In 2003, the lifelong NDP supporter was approached to run for the provincial NDP, but family considerations put higher office aspirations on hold.

“I had very young children at that time, and in my view, I wasn’t ready to make the sacrifice that anybody seeking public office must make,” he said, a day after winning the seat vacated by the NDP’s Denise Savoie.

“(Denise) modeled civility and earned the respect of people on all sides of the House of Commons, and I’d like to try and carry on her tradition,” he said.

For decades, Rankin, 62, has been working behind the scenes on various NDP campaigns. He spent the past year mounting the NDP’s legal opposition to the proposed Enbridge Gateway pipeline project.

While he worked hard on the campaign trail to secure his first foray into public office, no one predicted Monday night’s roller coaster ride that nearly saw Donald Galloway and the Green party usurp the NDP stronghold.

Rankin took 37 per cent of the vote, only one per cent lower than Savoie’s first win in 2006.

But Galloway finished just three points back with 34 per cent, a 22-per-cent increase over the 2011 election. Savoie’s closest competitor in 2006 was Liberal candidate David Mulroney, who took 28 per cent of the vote.

James Lawson, a political scientist at the University of Victoria, said Rankin’s success involved a number of factors, including his longstanding link to the environmental movement, endorsements from a wide range of interest groups and a connection to UVic, where students, who often do the groundwork on NDP campaigns, were available.

Less surprising, Lawson said, was the erosion of Conservative support, down 10 points to 14-per-cent support.

Anti-Enbridge sentiment, concern over increased Chinese investment in Canada and the government’s “untraditional approach to parliamentary procedure,” likely weighed on voters’ decisions, he said.

While the Green Party’s success was impressive in both Victoria and Calgary Centre, where it finished a healthy third, Elizabeth May and her organizers will be cognizant of the current phasing out of federal voting subsidies, which saw $2 of taxpayer funding allotted to parties for each vote.

The subsidy was introduced in 2006 to reduce reliance on corporate contributions in election campaigns. Its cancellation by the Conservative government will hit the smaller parties the hardest.

“I was surprised at the inability of the Liberals to pick up more votes, based on emphasis that Paul Summerville placed on the sewage treatment issue,” Lawson said.

The Liberals’ 13-per-cent share of the vote was more surprising, he added, since environmentalist and former Victoria Liberal MP David Anderson is supporting ARESST, the citizens group opposed to the $783-million project.

With the dust settling from the byelection, Rankin will spend the coming weeks securing a constituency office, hiring staff and getting accustomed to the regular six-and-a-half-hour flight between Victoria and Ottawa.

He shows unabashed excitement when anticipating his first day in the House of Commons.

“I’ve got lots of energy … my two children have grown up, so it’s a perfect time in my life to just work as hard as I can for the people of Victoria,” he said.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Missing Saanich dog may have been hit by multiple vehicles

Roscoe escaped from a house in the 4000 block of Carey Road, may be Panama Flats

Judge sets bail at $2.5 million in 1987 slaying of Oak Bay couple

William Talbott II, 55, is charged with two counts of aggravated first-degree murder

World Junior tryouts expected to have far-reaching economic effects

The Q Centre’s rep set to take major strides

Victoria Hospice named in top 100 Canadian charities list

Society honoured for transparency of donated funds

Saanich, Oak Bay seek to expand supply of affordable housing

Mayor Fred Haynes has asked staff to prepare grant application

VIDEO: Ballet Victoria’s take on the The Nutcracker tours Vancouver Island and the Mainland

Performances in Revelstoke, Coquitlam, Chilliwack and Victoria

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Increase in downed power lines in B.C., how to stay safe

BC Hydro study finds a third of British Columbians may be putting themselves at risk

EU leaders vow to press on with ‘no-deal’ Brexit plans

European Union leaders have offered Theresa May sympathy but no promises, as the British prime minister seeks a lifeline.

Powerful winds set to hit Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island

The agency says winds in coastal areas will strengthen up to 70 kilometres an hour before the front moves inland and gusts reach 90 kilometres an hour.

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

Tourism minister postpones trip to China amid tensions between two countries

Tourism Minister Melanie Joly’s office says Canada and China have mutually agreed to postpone a closing ceremony next week.

Police across Canada probe bomb threats as U.S. authorities dismiss ‘hoax’

A police spokesman said the emails were the same as those received elsewhere in North America

Most Read