The 43rd Canadian federal elections are just days away, which means it’s the last chance to cast your ballots.
On October 21st, residents in the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding will be heading to their nearest polling stations to take part in the democratic process and elect an MP to represent the electoral district in Ottawa.
Here’s a breakdown of the five major candidates running for election in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke:
New Democratic Party
Randall Garrison, the National Democratic Party’s candidate for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, is the incumbent MP for the electoral district for the past eight years.
He is the party’s LGBTQ2+ spokesperson and sponsored the bill that added transgender rights to the human rights section of the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Code.
Garrison is also the NDP’s critic on national defence, advocating for strong training, equipment, and support for Canadian Forces.
He fought against the Trans Mountain Pipeline in an effort to stop the Liberal government from purchasing it from Kinder Morgan and pushing the project through.
His platform echoes leader Jagmeet Singh’s policies, with particular emphasis on housing, health care, employment, and climate change action.
“As Canadians we can choose to ask those who are doing so very well in our society, the super-rich and profitable corporations, to pay a little more, something closer to their fair share,” writes Garrison.
“If we do, then we can afford head-to-toe health care for all Canadians and secure housing for everyone.”
Conservative Party of Canada
Randall Pewarchuk is the Conservative Party candidate hoping to represent Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke in the House of Commons after Monday’s elections.
Pewarchuk was a dental practitioner for several decades before deciding to run as the CPC candidate for his riding.
His priorities focus on lower taxation, in line with the party’s plans to introduce a Universal Tax Cut, abolish the carbon tax, and remove the GST from utility bills.
According to his website, Pewarchuk wants citizens to vote for him if they don’t want to “risk losing [their] livelihood to over-aggressive, rushed and questionable green initiatives at the expense of a stable economy.”
Green Party of Canada
David Merner is the Green Party candidate for the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke electoral district.
Merner was a practicing lawyer for 28 years before running for the federal elections in 2015 as a member of the Liberal Party, and garnering 27.4% of the vote.
He switched to the Green Party in 2018 after deciding that he “could not support a party that serially breaks its promises”, particularly after the Trudeau government’s purchase of the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
On top of supporting the Green Party’s climate change policies, Merner’s platform focuses on combatting the inequality and exclusion of Indigenous people and those living in poverty; establishing pharmacare for all; abolishing student debt; creating good jobs, social supports, and affordable homes in a green economy; and bringing an end to tax havens, loopholes, and corporate handouts.
.@CanadianGreens are committed to bold, transformational #ClimateAction. We will ban #fracking, cut GHG emissions by 60% and invest in the transition to the new economy through free tuition at trade schools, colleges, and universities.#LNGisFracking #GPChttps://t.co/pw58GBTCcm pic.twitter.com/ObCJOKisJq
— David Merner (@DavidMerner) October 17, 2019
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal Party candidate for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, Jamie Hammond, served in the Canadian Armed Forces for nearly 3 decades before turning to politics.
He went on to serve as Private Secretary to two Lieutenant Governors of B.C., and as a senior civil servant with the provincial government, focused on innovation and international trade.
If elected, Hammond pledges to create a dedicated military liaison in his community office to assist veterans and families of current members access government services.
He is a strong advocate for the Canada Child Benefit, and also plans to form a Local Environmental Advisory Panel to make sure local environmental needs and concerns are heard in Ottawa.
Hammond also pledges to convene a Transportation Action Team made up of local constituents, government representatives, and First Nations, to provide a voice for the region’s transportation needs in the federal government.
People’s Party of Canada
Jeremy Gustafson is the People’s Party candidate representing Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke in the 2019 elections.
Gustafson works in the film industry and is a resident of East Vancouver, but has been staying in his riding for the last two weeks of the election campaign.
His platform focuses on housing affordability, lowering the income tax, cutting immigration by more than 50%, and abolishing the carbon tax.
If elected, Gustafson plans to support policies that combat pollution in Canada’s waterways and providing clean drinking water to First Nations reserves.
Like the PPC’s candidate for Victoria, Alyson Culbert, Gustafson has also encountered issues with unknown people vandalizing or hiding his campaign signs.
— Jeremy Gustafson (@604vanilla) October 18, 2019
The PPC is the only party without any policies pertaining to climate change in this year’s elections. They have issued a blanket statement saying that the “uncertainties over the scientific basis of global warming, and the certainties about the huge costs of measures designed to fight it” justify their desire to withhold from government intervention.