It’s shaping up to be an interesting municipal election season in both Victoria and Esquimalt.
Thursday’s announcement by former B.C. cabinet minister Ida Chong that she will challenge Dean Fortin for the mayor’s job in Victoria guarantees that race will be far more competitive than in the past two city elections.
Chong is a smart, principled, moderate person whose training as an accountant allows her to analyze all sides of an argument.
She’s the best mayoral candidate in years to challenge Fortin, who while at times has stumbled politically, has laid out and followed a clear vision for the city.
City councillor Lisa Helps will also be a huge factor in the race. She’s be on the hustings, at least officially, since Jan. 1, and has championed the need for greater public engagement and civic leadership. Also running is Changes the Clown on a public awareness campaign dedicated to “talking about the unacknowledged and unaddressed crisis of child poverty in our community.”
In Esquimalt mayor Barb Desjardins, who last time won by acclamation, faces a challenge from at least two challengers: former VicPD deputy police chief John Ducker and local barber Scott Attrill.
Desjardins, the widely popular mayor, is running on her record, but also wants to find a solution to the region’s sewage dilemma and get a shovel in the ground on the Village Core Project.
Ducker is running on increasing the economic development and livability of Esquimalt, while Attrill’s campaign centres around development and traffic issues.
It’s good to see so many quality people taking an interest in serving in municipal government. They are tough jobs for relatively low pay and hard on private lives, but critical to our democracy.
The least voters can do is hear and consider what the candidates say, and get out and vote in November.