Election 2021: A guide for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford voters

Here’s a brief summary of the major party candidates, platforms and top issues Cowichan-Malahat-Langford voters told us they care about.

We’re committed to election coverage that responds to questions and concerns surfaced by community members. Many of you filled out this survey and told us what you want candidates to address. 

Here’s a summary of the candidates and a brief overview of the top three issues from our survey of Cowichan-Malahat-Langford-region voters, as they’ve been addressed by major candidates and parties so far. The Discourse has decided to focus on the candidates from major parties, as determined by 2019 election results for this riding.

What are the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding boundaries?

If you live within the bounds of Cowichan, Malahat, or Langford, this is most likely your riding. 

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It encompasses the City of Duncan, the Town of Lake Cowichan, the District of North Cowichan, Cowichan Indian Reserve, Penelakut Island Indian Reserve No. 7, Dayman Island, Hudson Island, Leech Island, Miami Islet, Penelakut Island, Ragged Islets, Reid Island, Rose Islets, Scott Island, Tent Island, Thetis Island, the District of Highlands, and the City of Langford.

Related: Election 2021: A guide for Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters

A map displays the boundaries of the Cowichan Malahat Langford riding.
Map by Elections Canada

Who are the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford candidates?

What are the major party platforms?

NDP platform 

Liberal commitments

Conservative platform

Green platform

What have the candidates said about the top three issues Cowichan-Malahat-Langford voters told us they care about?

To request that additional information be included in these sections, send us an email.

  1. A credible plan to address climate change 

Conservative candidate Alana DeLong has pointed to the Conservative party’s plan to “secure the environment” through measures like  low-carbon savings accounts to help constituents save money, introduce a zero-emission vehicle mandate (which would require 30 per cent of light-duty vehicles sold to be zero emissions by 2030), lower emissions to help meet the 2030 Paris Agreement targets and “stand up to major polluters like China.” 

Green candidate Lia Versaevel has been vocal about the “climate emergency” which she says is “affecting us all, right here, right now.” She has pointed to the Green Party’s 2019 plan to cut 60 per cent of carbon emissions below 2005 levels by 2030, cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline, make electric vehicles more affordable, expand charging stations and renew the National Forest Strategy. On social media, she has also supported the messages of activist Greta Thunberg and Environmental Defence Canada who push for a “healthy, just and sustainable future.”

NDP candidate Alistair MacGregor has pointed to his party’s plan to invest in green transportation, power communities in a carbon-free manner, ban single-use plastics, reach net-zero emissions by eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, and more. On social media he has pointed to the need for “real action on climate change,” further stressing the need to “confront our climate crisis with bold policy actions.”

Liberal candidate Blair Herbert has addressed the topic of climate change online, pointing to the Liberals’ plan. In a post on Facebook, he referenced endorsements from the viewpoints of former leaders, including former NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, and former Green Party leader Andrew Weaver. In a recent article, he said his priorities remain the economy and environment.

Further reading: How the four main federal parties plan to fight the climate crisis (Canada’s National Observer).

Vancouver Island’s federal candidates say climate change is a top priority (CBC).

  1. Housing affordability for everyone 

NDP candidate Alistair MacGregor recently addressed housing as a top issue and has pointed on social media to party leader Jagmeet Singh’s goal of making “life more affordable.” The NDP has committed to building 500,000 units of affordable housing in the next 10 years. He has also pointed to the messages he heard while talking with constituents, acknowledging that housing affordability was a hot topic. 

Liberal candidate Blair Herbert has spoken to the importance of affordable housing while focusing on the need to grow the economy and support people through to the end of the pandemic. The Liberal party has promised to build and preserve affordable housing, help renters become owners, and more.

Conservative candidate Alana DeLong has labelled housing affordability as “a huge issue,” adding that “many people struggle to find affordable housing, and young families are resigned to never being able to afford to purchase their first home.” The Conservative government has promised to, if elected, build one million homes over three years. 

Green candidate Lia Versaevel has linked the housing crisis to the absence of livable incomes in a recent article and has previously addressed concerns about the lack of affordable housing in the Cowichan Valley. The Green Party has stressed the need to “declare a national housing affordability and homelessness emergency and establish a national memorandum on evictions and residential arrears assistance.”  

Further reading: Main federal parties all say they’ll make housing more affordable. Here’s what we know about their plans (CBC).

  1. Meaningful steps toward reconciliation 

Liberal candidate Blair Herbert has pointed to the need for a government, “that will push even harder on the path to reconciliation.” On social media, Herbert has also pointed to the need to ensure First Nations groups are partners in protecting nature.

Green candidate Lia Versaevel has spoken outwardly about the need to address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’s calls to action. She said in an interview with Saanich News in August 2021 that “we are far from addressing” them. The Green Party has committed to “support[ing] all Indigenous Peoples’ efforts to emerge from the positions of disadvantage in which Canada has placed them in, including support for cultural revitalization and healing,” as well as other initiatives. 

Although NDP candidate Alistair MacGregor does not yet appear to have directly addressed reconciliation this election, he has in the past criticized the Liberal government for its lack of action regarding the TRC’s calls to action. In June 2021, in a locally-published column, he said: “This moment in time must serve as the catalyst needed to finally force government action on our path of reconciliation.” The NDP government has committed to fully implementing the TRC’s calls to action, investing in children, establishing safe, quality housing for First Nations, Inuit and Métis families, as well as other initiatives. 

Conservative candidate Alana DeLong does not appear to have outwardly spoken about the topic of reconciliation, however, she has acknowledged on social media that “Indigenous people disproportionately face adverse outcomes related to mental health.” She pointed to her party’s commitment to invest in easier, more culturally-appropriate mental health support for Indigenous people and to improve access to public services in Indigenous languages. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has promised progress on six calls to action from the TRC related to missing children and burials.

Further reading: NDP leader’s visit to unmarked graves focuses campaign on Indigenous hardships (Canada’s National Observer).

Candidates answer reader questions at The Discourse’s virtual forum

NDP candidate Alistair MacGregor, Liberal Party candidate Blair Herbert and Green Party candidate Lia Versaevel joined the conversation. Conservative Party candidate Alana DeLong was also invited to the forum but declined the invitation, citing a prior commitment. Due to time constraints, The Discourse chose to give space to candidates from parties that received a significant proportion of the vote locally in the 2019 election.


How do I vote?

If you are vulnerable to COVID-19 or out of town, you may want to choose to vote by mail. If you decide to vote in this way, be sure to apply by 6 p.m. on Sept. 14.  After you choose your candidate, you can deliver this ballot by mail or in-person to your Elections Canada office, so long as your ballot is in by the time polls close on Sept. 20.

(Remember that if you choose this option, you cannot change your mind and vote by regular ballot on election day or in advance polls).

Health measures will be in place for voting in-person at advance polls from Sept 10 to 13 and on voting day on Sept. 20. Click here to find your assigned polling station. You can check to see if you are registered to vote here.

Advance polls will be open:

  • Friday, Sept. 10
  • Saturday, Sept. 11
  • Sunday, Sept. 12
  • Monday, Sept. 13 [end]

Editor’s Note Aug. 28, 2021: The Discourse has chosen to focus on the candidates running for the major parties, based on previous election results in each riding. This story was updated to clarify that. Information on additional parties can be found here and a full list of candidates can be found here.

Editor’s Note Aug. 28, 2021: This story has been updated to include information about Liberal candidate Blair Herbert, who has thrown his hat in for the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding.

Editor’s Note, Sept. 8, 2021: This article has been updated to name all of the confirmed candidates for this riding.

Editor’s Note, Sept. 9, 2021: This article has been updated to include the Green Party platform.

Editor’s Note, Sept. 10, 2021: This article has been updated with video from The Discourse’s virtual candidates’ forum.

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