Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke election candidates
Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke 2021 election candidates from left to right: Doug Kobayashi (Liberal), Harley Gordon (Green), Laura Frost (Conservative) and Randall Garrison (NDP). Photos from Facebook
Vancouver Island West Shore

Election 2021: A guide for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke voters

Here’s a brief summary of the candidates, party platforms and top issues voters in the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding care about.
Shalu Mehta September 3, 2021

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 in this riding and a brief overview of the top three issues from our survey of local voters, as they’ve been addressed by candidates and parties so far.

The Discourse has chosen to focus on the candidates running for the major parties, based on previous election results in each riding. Information on additional parties can be found here and a full list of candidates can be found here.

What are the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding boundaries?

This riding covers several municipalities in the Capital Regional District, spanning between Saanich and the Juan de Fuca Strait. It encompasses the district municipalities of Esquimalt, Metchosin and Sooke, the City of Colwood, the Town of View Royal, the portion of Saanich west of the Patricia Bay Highway, Esquimalt First Nation reserve, Songhees First Nation reserve #1A, T’Sou-ke First Nation reserve, and Scia’new (Beecher Bay) First Nation reserve No. 1. 

A portion of the subdivision called Capital H (Part 1) east of the centre of Squally Reach and north of the districts of Highlands and Saanich is included in this riding as well. Another portion of the Capital H (Part 1) subdivision south of Sooke and Metchosin — making up East Sooke — and the portion of the subdivision west of Sooke is also part of this riding.

election Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding map
Map by Elections Canada

Who are the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke candidates?

Randall Garrison, NDP (Facebook, website)

Doug Kobayashi, Liberal Party (Facebook, website)

Harley Gordon, Green Party (Facebook, website)

Laura Frost, Conservative Party (Facebook, website)

Tyson Riel Strandlund, Communist Party of Canada (Facebook, website)

Rob Anderson, People’s Party of Canada (Facebook, website)

What are the major party platforms?

NDP platform 

Liberal platform

Conservative platform

Green commitments

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

What have major parties and candidates said about the top three issues Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke voters told us they care about?

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

1. Environment and climate change

Green Party candidate Harley Gordon’s website points to prioritizing local and Indigenous engagement when it comes to creating climate change solutions. He says investment in renewable energy and transportation infrastructure is needed to lower emissions and calls for the protection of old-growth ecosystems as well as reduced coastal tanker traffic and cleaner rivers. The Green Party’s website points to slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 60 per cent by 2030 and zero by 2050, ending fossil fuel industry subsidies, investing in a strategy to deliver renewable energy across Canada, retrofitting buildings, preparing for effects of climate change that can’t be avoided and more. 

Conservative Party candidate Laura Frost’s Facebook page says she’s an “environmental researcher who works with the federal and provincial governments on land management.” The Conservative platform says it will incentivize carbon capture and storage, encourage carbon offsets in the forestry and agriculture sectors and support “natural climate solutions” like forest and agriculture management and land restoration, among other things.

Liberal Party candidate Doug Kobayashi told the Goldstream News Gazette that he considers climate change to be a major issue in this election and believes in the plan to shift to a renewable energy economy. A recent Facebook post points to the Liberal Party’s support to permanently protect old growth forests. In a Sept. 2 video, Kobayashi says environmental issues are consequences of social and economic problems. Watch the full video here.

The NDP Platform says the party plans to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, build a low-carbon economy, increase transit and zero-emission vehicle use as well as active transportation, invest in clean energy projects, ban single-use plastics and more. The NDP has also committed to a new Canadian Climate Bank to invest in renewable energy and low-carbon technologies. Candidate Randall Garrison’s website says he is focused on “killing the Trans Mountain Pipeline” to ensure there is a healthy coast for orcas, wild salmon, fishing and tourism. Island Social Trends reported on some of what Garrison had to say about climate change recently here.

Further reading: Canada election: Complete list of promises about tackling climate change (Global News).

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

2. Affordable housing

NDP candidate Randall Garrison pointed to the NDP’s commitments to target housing speculators who flip homes for profit by “increasing the taxable amount of their capital gains profits from 50 per cent to 75 per cent.” The party has also committed to a 20 per cent foreign buyer’s tax on home sales to people who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The party has said it will build 500,000 new units of affordable housing in the next 10 years, with half of them complete in the next five years.

Liberal Party candidate Doug Kobayashi’s Facebook page points to “A Home For Everyone,” a Liberal housing plan that includes loans and grants for first time homebuyers, a rent-to-own program, building or repairing 1.4 million homes, reviewing tax treatment of large corporate housing speculators, supporting Indigenous housing and more. Kobayashi told the Capital Daily that he is “reluctant to see housing prices drop” suddenly, as it could negatively affect homeowners.

The Conservative Party has committed to incentivise the construction of housing in the private sector, review Canada’s real estate portfolio in order to free up housing and encourage corporations and private landowners to donate property to land trusts to create more affordable housing.

Green Party candidate Harley Gordon’s website mentions implementing a guaranteed livable income and making housing more affordable. The Green Party’s website calls for declaring a national housing affordability and homelessness emergency as well as establishing a national moratorium on evictions and residential arrears assistance. Gordon told the Capital Daily that the Green Party platform will commit to investing in transit so communities can build alongside it and supporting First Nations housing needs.
Further reading: Main federal parties all say they’ll make housing more affordable. Here’s what we know about their plans (CBC).

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

3. Meaningful steps toward reconciliation

The Conservative Party’s platform states that it will invest in infrastructure projects that support reconciliation as well as a “For Indigenous, By Indigenous” housing plan. They also propose efforts toward “making amends for past injustices” through education, a plan to implement the TRC’s calls to action and a national monument.

Liberal candidate Doug Kobayashi’s website says he believes accountability is needed for reconciliation to happen. It says he will “do everything in his power” to help respond to the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. The Liberal platform commits to eliminating all long-term clean drinking water advisories, taking action to address systemic racism against Indigenous people specifically in health care and the justice system, protecting the wellbeing of Indigenous children and families, launching an Indigenous housing strategy and confronting the legacy of residential schools. 

The Green Party’s website says the party commits to implementing every call in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It says the party will give First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders an equal seat on the Council of Canadian Governments, ensure Indigenous children have access to quality education based on First Nations, Métis and Inuit government priorities, fund language revitalization, end drinking water and boil water advisories and more.

The NDP website says the party commits fully to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. It says the party plans to address systemic discrimination against Indigenous children in the child welfare system, provide safe and affordable housing in Indigenous communities, close the education gap and create Indigenous history education programs for everyone, lift drinking water advisories, close the health gap in Indigenous communities and more. Island Social Trends reports that candidate Randall Garrison renewed his calls for the federal government to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action — particularly for the government to fund searches and the return of remains.

Further reading: Canada election: Complete list of promises made on Indigenous reconciliation (Global News).

Candidates answer reader questions at The Discourse’s virtual forum

NDP candidate Randall Garrison, Liberal Party candidate Doug Kobayashi and Green Party candidate Harley Gordon joined The Discourse’s Shalu Mehta for a virtual forum on Sept. 9. Conservative Party candidate Laura Frost 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

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

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.