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

James Taylor, a Saanich resident and member of the Curve Lake First Nation, walked all over Greater Victoria on May 5 in honour of Red Dress Day and the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Devon Bidal/News staff)
Indigenous man walks Greater Victoria to honour missing and murdered women and girls

James Taylor, of the Curve Lake First Nation, marks Red Dress Day with healing walk, songs

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man arrested for allegedly spitting, yelling anti-Asian racial slurs at a mother and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

Victoria police is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying this suspect after they allegedly robbed a Douglas Street bank on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek identity of suspect who alllegedly robbed Victoria bank

Officers were called to a bank in the 1000-block of Douglas Street just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday

Victoria police said Wednesday that they continue to look for Belinda Ann Cameron, who was last seen on May 5, 2005. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police still looking for Belinda Cameron who was last seen 16 years ago

Cameron was reported missing on June 4, 2005, and her case is deemed suspicious

Colwood-based writer Esi Edugyan will speak about the deep research she did before writing <em>Washington Black</em>, her third novel. (Black Press Media file photo)
Colwood author Esi Edugyan giving talk May 6 about her research and writing process

Event is part of Royal Road’s Changemaker series celebrating its 25th anniversary

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

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

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Most Read