Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca

A quick snapshot of the candidates running in my old stomping grounds.

Since 1993, the riding has been held by Keith Martin, albeit running under several different banners: Reform, Canadian Alliance, and Liberal. Prior to that, it was the electoral home (in fact, he lived on the Lower Mainland) of Dave Barrett, the charismatic former NDP Premier from the 70s.

The riding is interesting in the sense of it being a classic example of how vote-splitting on what is broadly considered to be “the Left” is most likely going to allow the Conservative candidate to win this highly unpredictable seat in the upcoming election.


Bob Rae in Victoria

Liberal candidate Lillian Szpak (Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca) is joined by Bob Rae who talks about the key differences between the Liberals and the Harper Conservatives.

If you want to get right to Rae’s remarks and skip the pleasantries at the beginning, jump to about 2 minutes into the video.

Thanks to amfreshcanada for the footage.

VI Follies

An amusing report from A-Channel News about Harper’s somewhat muddled photo-op visit the other day to Vancouver Island.

Hey, I may be living in Winnipeg at the moment, but my heart will always be in Victoria…

It’s really too bad that Keith Martin decided to step down as MP for Esquimalt Juan de Fuca. Given that’s the case however, in order to avoid pointless vote-splitting, I would strongly urge every Liberal (and Green Party) supporter in that riding to get behind NDP candidate Randall Garrison, as he has the best chance of defeating perennial Conservative Party hack Troy DeSouza (or as my wife prefers to call him, “Fat Tony”).

Unfortunately, newcomer Liberal candidate Lillian Szpak doesn’t have a chance (she’s an obscure Langford councilor and won’t get much traction in outside the Western Communities), so a vote for her would just increase the likelihood of a DeSouza victory.

Better Know a Riding (Kinda)

Esquimalt Juan de Fuca

For whatever it’s worth, I thought it might be interesting to look at the campaign literature received from the different campaigns in recent days/weeks. (Sorry there aren’t pictures… I don’t have a scanner, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.) Click on the pictures of the candidates to link to their websites.

Liberal: Keith Martin

Apparently he’s “Effective”… this word is repeated several times across the front of his flyer. “Effective in Government” it says. “Effective in Opposition.” Oh, and Keith Martin knows how to be effective for you in Ottawa.” There follows a lot of “facts to help you decide.”

This is something that always cracks me up about “liberals” — they actually think that people pay attention to “facts” and other such curious, reality-based notions. Indeed, if we take the time delve into this rather elaborate piece of literature there is quite a massive amount of information. Keith’s background, experience, biography, record in parliament, short summaries of his positions on different issues (e.g., jobs, the economy, social issues, our rights, education, defence, etc.), “why he serves” and got into politics in the first place and so on and on and on…

It should be said that this is pretty standard fare from Dr. Martin, who sends out quite detailed reports summarizing his activities in parliament from time to time. This one is just a little more colourful (but not that much… to be honest, it’s kind of drab).

Conservative: Troy DeSouza

Now, here we see the difference with so-called “Conservatives” — they are far more direct. The first piece I received immediately after the writ was dropped — like within days — was a glossy, colourful little bit of cardboard that promised a highway overpass. I can’t quote it directly because I gave it away to some hapless ex-fisherman guy who was doorstopping for the NDP and was unfamiliar with it. Anyway, I know nothing about this McKenzie highway overpass thing. I would assume that it’s intended to relieve the traffic congestion — the dreaded “Colwood Crawl” — from downtown to the exurban “Western Communities” that make up a lot of the Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding (i.e., Colwood, Langford, Vic West, View Royal, Sooke, Metchosin). Well, I ride an electric bike around my neighborhood and take the bus when I grudgingly have to go into town on some dreary errand, so that means absolutely nothing to me.

His second pitch came the other day… This one is especially hilarious. It starts off with a bold headline: “You’ve told me: We need to protect rural communities.” Huh? Did I “tell” you that? What on earth are you talking about? Below that is a picture of cattle grazing in a field with some skyscrapers in the background. I’ve got no idea where this image was taken from, but it’s most definitely not local. Then it says “You need a strong voice in government.” Um, okay… But this message means nothing to me. There are “rural” communities and small farming areas, vintners and what not further to the west of where I’m situated, but there’s no content here. “Protect” them from what, exactly? Is there some imminent threat out there to their existence?

Flip the piece over and you get and either/or bit of propaganda. “PAY MORE” on the red Liberal side OR “GET MORE” on the blue Conservative side. Well, who wouldn’t want to “get more” right? Apparently, we’ll have “Commuter Rail” and “Economic Stability” if we vote for this mysterious fellow standing next to Stephen Harper (in the colour picture as opposed to the sepia toned picture of assorted Liberals on the RED side of the piece that’s presumably meant to appear “scary”).

NDP: Jennifer Burgis

Funny thing. After being inundated with regular mailings from Jack Layton for the last two years (all of which went unopened and tossed in the garbage) I’ve received nothing from Ms. Burgis. Apparently, I learn from the excellent CBC website that she’s an opportunistic carpetbagger from the Interior who ran unsuccessfully in Saanich–Gulf Islands in the last election.

Green Party: Brian Gordon

Brian’s nice little pamphlet features him pictured with Al Gore! It says that he’s a “former climate sceptic who was trained by Al Gore to deliver the Inconvenient Truth presentation.” Yes, many sighs and groans from this quarter at that particular bit of news.

His priorities are all in order of course and most of them I agree with, but they’re so general and vague. Yes, we do “need to rebuild our network of trains and streetcars” and “food security” is something that would desirous to be moving towards (except don’t forget that according to the Conservative candidate our “rural communities” need to be “protected” from… some imminent peril). Oh, and here’s another thing that Brian is for: “local jobs” — brilliant! Who would ever have imagined that? Then there’s a little spiel about the Greens’ idealistic vision of high-speed electric trains in France and Norway, organic farms and so on. Flipping over to the back page we get more of the Green message about the virtuous characteristics of European lifestyles, how the economy and ecology are linked and so on. Yes, yes, and yes… All good stuff, but yet… strangely ineffective and unconvincing in this format. Hey, flying electric cars would be nice too!

There’s an “Independent” in the race too. Some fellow named Philip Ney with no literature and not even a website. Unfortunately, we don’t get an amusing assortment of comedians, fringe loons and crackpots running this time out.

So that’s the perspective of a somewhat disinterested voter of what’s been received in the mailbox in my riding in this stupid, pointless election. Is it any wonder that so few people bother to go and vote?

Go Keith!

Nice to see that Dr. Martin has (finally!) got a decent website up and running, so I just wanted to give it a plug. Nicely executed for the most part and, oh look… it has a blog that actually works and takes comments. Imagine that!

For whatever it may be worth, I’ll be providing a little “better know your riding” profile on my bailiwick of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca and a rundown of the candidates in due course, but in the meantime I’d encourage any voters in my specific neck of the woods to check out Keith’s new site (just click on the picture above) to find out more.