Of the 31,000-plus people who cast a ballot in the May provincial election in Saanich North and the Islands, more than 20,000 of them (a majority) did not vote for the winning candidate.
It’s a fact that the NDP’s Gary Holman knows very well. He also knows that his own margin of victory — 163 votes over B.C. Liberal candidate Stephen Roberts — is representative of the fact that a lot of people in the riding hold different political views than his own. In many ways, Holman faces a unique challenge stemming from such a close electoral race. He has no majority support in Saanich North and the Islands and must tread carefully if he has any hope of finding support for his, or his party’s, policies.
Holman is certainly aware of this, stating he plans to communicate with as many people as possible on issues that are common among voters, no matter their political stripe.
He is correct when he says there are issues in this riding that almost everyone holds dear. From ferry rates and services, affordable housing on the Peninsula, transportation on and off of the islands and local food supply, these are issues that all candidates in the riding touched on.
There is common ground coming out of the provincial election campaign. The local race was about issues, for the most part, and not about personalities. Yes, each party had their own plan and approach to finding solutions on these and other issues. In Saanich North and the Islands, that may come through now as a mostly NDP-driven solution, thanks to the change in MLA.
However, possibly to avoid the impression that the riding is being left out of the decision-making process in Victoria under a Liberal majority, Holman appears to be willing to take the consensus approach.
It’s a wise course of action — especially when most voters in the riding didn’t choose the NDP.