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.

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Housing ensures that by March 31, shelter will be available to all people living outside. (Black Press Media file photo)
All unhoused Victoria residents will be offered shelter by March 31, says BC Housing

BC Housing working to secure shelter locations in coming weeks

Robert Schram, here seen in January 2016, died Saturday, according to a friend. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sidney, Saanich Peninsula mourn the death of Mr. Beads

Bead artist Robert Schram was a familiar, well-loved figure in Sidney and beyond

Saanich Coun. Susan Brice and Mayor Fred Haynes are calling on the province to develop new solutions for emergency response to mental health crises with the consideration of a potential new 911 category. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich mayor, councillor call for new solutions to mental health emergencies

Shifting response from police to trained mental health team the best option, mayor says

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic, operated by Island Health, has opened at the University of Victoria’s McKinnon Gym. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
COVID-19 vaccination clinic opens at University of Victoria

Clinic is staffed and operated by Island Health

Aerial view of the Capital Regional District residuals treatment facility at Hartland Landfill where residual solids are turned into Class A biosolids. (Photo courtesy CRD)
Plant closure sends more biosolids to Hartland Landfill

Saanich residents are concerned they were never consulted

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Left: Oakland County Jail. Right: Canuck Todd Bertuzzi on November 2, 2005. (CP/Chuck Stoody)
Former Vancouver Canuck Todd Bertuzzi arrested for suspected DUI: report

The Canadian winger had a complicated history in the NHL

The south coast of B.C. as capture by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. (European Space Agency)
VIDEO: Images of B.C.’s south coast from space released by European Space Agency

The satellite images focus on a variety of the region’s landmarks

A copy of the book “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” by Dr. Seuss, rests in a chair, Monday, March 1, 2021, in Walpole, Mass. Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the business that preserves and protects the author and illustrator’s legacy, announced on his birthday, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, that it would cease publication of several children’s titles including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo,” because of insensitive and racist imagery. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
6 Dr. Seuss books won’t be published for racist images

Books affected include McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat’s Quizzer

The fundraising effort to purchase 40 hectares west of Cottonwood Lake announced its success this week. Photo: Submitted
Nelson society raises $400K to save regional park from logging project

The Nelson community group has raised $400,000 to purchase 40 hectares of forest

AstraZeneca’s vaccine ready for use at the vaccination centre in Apolda, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Reichel/dpa via AP
National panel advises against using Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine on seniors

NACI panel said vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are preferred for seniors ‘due to suggested superior efficacy’

A public health order has extended the types of health care professionals who can give the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan)
‘It’s great that midwives are included’ in rollout of B.C.’s COVID vaccine plan, says college

The order will help the province staff the mass vaccination clinics planned for April

Shipping containers are seen at the Fairview Cove Container Terminal in Halifax on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Canadian economy contracted 5.4 per cent in 2020, worst year on record

Drop was largely due to shutdowns in the spring as COVID began to spread

Most Read