Good job, Victoria!

44.84% of eligible Victorians voted on October 20th, 2018, making it the best voter turnout in years.
13,284 people viewed victoriavotes.org during the campaign period.
1,424 people visited victoriavotes.org on election day.
Here's your new city government...




MAYOR

Lisa Helps

Lisa beat out her closest rival Stephen Hammond by almost 4,000 votes.

BACKGROUND

Lisa was first elected mayor of Victoria in 2014, after a term as city councillor (2011-2014). Before that, she was the executive director of Community Microlending Society. Lisa has an MA in History from UVic.

TRACK RECORD

Some of her successes include leading council in the development of a new firehall and ambulance centre, reducing the downtown retail vacancy rate from 11.8% to 3.8%, fast-tracking the development of rental buildings, and making it easier to build garden suites.

More controversially, she led efforts to ban single-use plastic bags, build the Pandora and Fort St bike lanes, and streamline the re-zoning process to encourage development. Recently, she drew criticism for the removal of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue outside of City Hall, for his role as a “leader of violence against Indigenous peoples”. The Johnson Street Bridge also finally opened during her tenure, five years after construction began. But to be fair, she voted against the initial construction contract as a city councillor.

TOP PRIORITIES

Affordability, sustainability, and "well-being and prosperity"

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Check out Lisa's full platform, which includes proposals to build 2000 units of affordable housing, allow “movable tiny homes” in backyards (with rent capped at $500), and change the speed limit on all neighbourhood streets from 50km/h to 30km/h. She wants to allow garden suites to be larger than 1 bedroom to house families, and make transit free for all youth under the age of 18. Lisa will also work to complete the Westshore rapid transit lanes and the “all-ages-and-abilities” bike network.” She wants to make Government street pedestrian-only in the summer, and plan for a new Central Library downtown, while keeping tax increases at inflation plus 1%.

Victoria City Council 2018 -2021

Five of the six incumbents running were re-elected, while longtime councillor Pam Madoff lost her seat. All three Together Victoria candidates won a spot on council with their positive campaign focused on affordability and inclusive development. Overall, it's a very progressive-leaning council, so expect to see more support at city hall for non-profit, city-led, and co-op housing projects, as well as more pressure on developers for community amenity contributions. The new council is likely to support many of Helps' plans (especially for bike lanes and garden suites/multi-unit homes).

If candidate platforms are to be believed, other highlights over the next few years could be a new central library, free transit for kids, a community broadband network, a new park at Ship's Point, Westshore rapid transit lanes, and the creation of a Regional Transit Authority to improve transit and finally get going on commuter rail.

Marianne Alto

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Marianne is a facilitator who runs a research and consulting firm. She's been a city councillor since 2010. Marianne's a Capital Regional District director and a former director of the Oaklands Community Association, the Leadership Council of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness, the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and multiple Parent Advisory Councils. Previous to her consulting work, she was a senior analyst for the office of the Premier. She has a law degree from Dalhousie and a BSci from UVic.

TRACK RECORD

Marianne doesn't have much track record information on her website, but she's involved in the council’s Open Data projects. She was a vocal supporter of borrowing to fund the Johnson Street Bridge project in 2010. She also voted “yes” to 95% of development projects in the last four years (more than any other city councillor).

TOP PRIORITIES

Affordable Housing, transportation, ‘business prosperity’

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Among her many ideas, Marianne wants to see the city review Local Area Plans every 5 years. She also proposes introducing a 10% speculation tax, creating incentives for large home conversions to multiple units, introducing free city parkades, increasing the number of car share parking spots, and keeping a cap on business tax increases at 1% plus inflation.

Laurel Collins

'TOGETHER VICTORIA'

BACKGROUND

Laurel is a PhD candidate and instructor at UVic, teaching Social Justice Studies and Political Sociology. Previously, she worked for Victoria Women in Need and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Northern Uganda. She’s also a former executive director of the Victoria Multicultural Society (7 months). Laurel has an MA in Human Security and Peacebuilding from Royal Roads, and an MA in Classics from King’s College.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

Laurel is a delegate to the Victoria Labour Council and the co-chair and co-founder of Divest Victoria. She’s the Communications Secretary for CUPE 4163, and was a Director-at-Large for the Esquimalt Township Community Arts Council. She was also a speaker and panelist for the Stop Bill C-51 campaign in 2015. Laurel received a Victoria Community Leadership Award in 2016

WHY SHE RAN

Laurel thinks the city needs to do more to address the housing crisis, because ‘trickle-down’ development isn’t working. She wants a more “affordable, inclusive, and thriving” city. Laurel is also running for CRD Director, so she would carry the weight of Together Victoria’s CRD platform.

TOP PRIORITIES

Affordable housing, community consultation, environment/green space

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

The Together Victoria platform is extensive and ambitious. Notable proposals include having the city act as co-developer on affordable housing projects, requiring at least 50% of all new housing be affordable, free swimming lessons for children and free transit for everyone under 18, tying bus fares to income, supporting “street-level drug testing” by Island Health, pushing for the decriminalization of drug possession, creating 156 new units of youth housing, introducing an online system for public consultation, ‘unbundling’ large city infrastructure contracts into smaller contracts when possible, mandatory anti-racism training for municipal staff, introducing a new oversight committee for city spending, and creating more off-leash dog areas.

Sharmarke Dubow

'TOGETHER VICTORIA'

BACKGROUND

Sharmarke is a former Somalian refugee, who has served as an executive committee member of the Canadian Council for Refugees and is the current co-chair of the Settlement and Integration Working Group. Previously, he was a facilitator and case manager for the Intercultural Association of Victoria and the Victoria Immigrant Refugee Services Centre. Before he moved to Victoria in 2012, he worked in refugee services in Egypt, and attained a B.Tech degree from Cape Breton University.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

In addition to his work with the refugee community, Sharmarke is the president of the Victoria Coalition for Survivors of Torture and has served as a steering committee member for the Victoria Tenant Action Group. He's been involved in refugee activism, started World Refugee Day in Victoria, and was a longtime steering committee member for the city’s Community Action Plan on Discrimination coalition. He received a Victoria Community Leadership Award in 2017.

WHY HE RAN

Sharmarke has worked with “people of all walks of life” in Victoria, and believes this background would bring a fresh voice to city council. He wants to "give people the same dignity and respect" he received when he first made Canada his home. Sharmarke wants a city that is more “affordable, inclusive, and thriving,” and wants to make local government more accessible for everyone.

TOP PRIORITIES

Affordability, housing, governance

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

The Together Victoria platform is extensive and ambitious. Notable proposals include having the city act as co-developer on affordable housing projects, requiring at least 50% of all new housing be affordable, free swimming lessons for children and free transit for everyone under 18, tying bus fares to income, supporting “street-level drug testing” by Island Health, pushing for the decriminalization of drug possession, creating 156 new units of youth housing, introducing an online system for public consultation, ‘unbundling’ large city infrastructure contracts into smaller contracts when possible, mandatory anti-racism training for municipal staff, introducing a new oversight committee for city spending, and creating more off-leash dog areas.

Ben Isitt

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Ben was first elected to city council (and the Capital Regional District) in 2011, and then re-elected in 2014. He’s a historian and legal scholar, and former professor at UVic, UBC, and SFU. He’s also worked with the BC Ministry of Advanced Education. Ben has a law degree and PhDs in History and Law.

TRACK RECORD

Ben published his expenses and schedule of lobbyist meetings on his website. He also shared a full track record, with a long list of initiatives that he led or initiatied, including drafting the proposal for the Regional Housing First Program, which ultimately secured $90-million in funding to reduce homelessness. Ben also introduced a proposal that resulted in a 50% increase in operating funding for community centeres and senior’s centres. Another one of Ben’s proposals doubled the available programming space for the Quadra Community Centre. He spearheaded multiple initiatives, including the move to ban single-use plastic bags, the development of the Fort and Pandora bike lanes, the Neighbourhood Community Garden Volunteer Coordinator Program, and the City of Victoria Active Transportation Advisory Committee.

TOP PRIORITIES

Affordability, safety, environment/green space

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Ben’s platform has quite a bit of detail so its difficult to summarize here. Included are proposals to introduce a municipal Living Wage Policy, expand the Regional Housing Levy as seed capital for additional affordable housing, develop a Community Broadband network to reduce local internet costs, introduce a city-sponsored Buy Local campaign, develop a Community Violence Prevention Program (aimed at sexual violence, bullying, and violence against women and children), create a waterfront park on the city-owned land at Ship’s Point, and create a Regional Transportation Authority under the CRD to oversee the transit network and consider commuter rail.

Jeremy Loveday

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Jeremy is a public speaker and "anti-violence facilitator" who is running for his second term on council. He's the founding director of Victorious Voices Youth Arts Festival, and co-founder of the Re-Imagining Masculinities Conference. Before joining council, Jeremy was the Community Development Coordinator for Heart and Stroke Foundation, and an ESL teacher in South Korea and Quebec. Jeremy is a renter, and has a BA in Political Science from Concordia.

TRACK RECORD

Jeremy helped create the Accessibility Working Group for the city to secure funding for accessibility upgrades to city buildings and infrastructure. He also initiated the adoption of a youth strategy and the Transgender Equity and Inclusion Policy. Jeremy implemented a temporary moratorium on the demolition of rental housing, and opposed the 2018 4% residential tax increase. In 2017, he was named a Vanguard Fellow with Next City.

TOP PRIORITIES

Affordability, community, sustainability

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Jeremy wants to implement and expand the $90 million CRD Housing First fund, protect existing rental stock, create a Regional Transportation Authority, acquire more parks and green space. Jeremy would also push for a third-party review of city governance.

Sarah Potts

'TOGETHER VICTORIA'

BACKGROUND

Sarah is the volunteer manager for Our Place. Previously, she worked as a residential support worker for an addictions and mental health centre. She’s a queer-identified single mother, with a BA in Political Science from UVic.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

Sarah is a founder and co-chair of Basic Income Victoria, which pushed for the city to endorse a “universal guaranteed income” for all Canadians. She spoke at city hall in favour of the city adopting a Living Wage program, and was a panelist at the Victoria Women’s March.

WHY SHE RAN

Sarah is part of the Together Victoria slate, which wants to see a more “affordable, inclusive, and thriving” city. She believes city hall can do more to ensure housing is affordable for everyone, and thinks “the city has a huge role to play in breaking the cycle of mental illness, addiction, and homelessness.”

TOP PRIORITIES

Housing, homelessness/addiction, governance

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

The Together Victoria platform is extensive and ambitious. Notable proposals include having the city act as co-developer on affordable housing projects, requiring at least 50% of all new housing be affordable, free swimming lessons for children and free transit for everyone under 18, tying bus fares to income, supporting “street-level drug testing” by Island Health, pushing for the decriminalization of drug possession, creating 156 new units of youth housing, introducing an online system for public consultation, ‘unbundling’ large city infrastructure contracts into smaller contracts when possible, mandatory anti-racism training for municipal staff, introducing a new oversight committee for city spending, and creating more off-leash dog areas.

Charlayne Thornton-Joe

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Charlayne is a third-generation Victorian, first elected to council in 2002. Previously, she worked in food and beverage for the Oak Bay Marina and Dunsmuir Lodge Conference Centre. She has a BA in Pacific and Asian studies from UVic. She’s been on the board of the Victoria Women’s Transition House, and the Inter-cultural Association of Greater Victoria. She’s also involved in multiple roles in the local Chinese community. Charlayne has received awards for her volunteering.

TRACK RECORD

Charlayne is currently a member of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. She initiate the city's Extreme Weather Protocol, and she's also the city lead for Canada Day celebrations downtown. In April, she proposed a bylaw amendment “which would require [carriage tour] horses to wear identification numbers that correspond with their name, description, and health record.” Neither her website nor city profile yet mention any other specific initiatives that she’s introduced or led over the last four years.

TOP PRIORITIES

Being accessible to residents, safety, culture.

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

The only specific proposal I could find is a suggestion to see more late-night transit for shift workers.

Geoff Young

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Geoff is an economist and consultant who was first elected to council in 1983, serving until 1999. He was re-elected in 2005. Geoff has lectured at UVic and the University of Alberta, and has worked for the BC Ministry of Finance. In addition to his work as a councillor, CRD director, and economist, he’s served as board member for the Victoria Water District, the Greater Victoria Public Library, the Victoria Airport Authority, and the British Columbia Financial Institutions Commission. He has a BA in Economics from UBC and a PhD in Economics from Harvard.

TRACK RECORD

Geoff was the only councillor who voted in opposition to the removal of the Sir James A. Macdonald statue outside city hall. He voted in opposition to the ‘Bellewoods’ development on Fort St (site of the former ‘Truth Centre’), because he felt the density towards the back of the development wasn’t appropriate for the neighbourhood. Geoff also worked to secure funding for sewage treatment. Geoff has a few other ‘track record’ items on his website, but it’s not clear what was achieved in the last four years, and what he accomplished in previous terms.

TOP PRIORITIES

Taxes and spending, zoning, regional planning.

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Geoff wants to see "dedicated bus lanes to the western communities," and more "safe bike routes." He also proposes that the city focus on providing shelter beds, so camping can be prohibited again. Geoff would preserve parking and park space in the Crystal Pool development.

SD61 Board of Education 2018 -2021

With twelve candidates running for nine seats, only three weren't elected. Voters came out in support of all incumbents, with open seats going to those candidates with the most civic or political experience.

Nicole Duncan


BACKGROUND

Nicole is a mother to a student in School District 61, and a privacy consultant.  Nicole ran for school board trustee in 2014. She has an MA and a BTech.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

Nicole is a volunteer at her son’s school, and has served as Chair and Treasurer for the school Parent Advisory Council.

WHY SHE RAN

Nicole believes in a “strong and vibrant public school system,” supported by “fair and respectful collective bargaining and adequate and predictable funding.” Nicole thinks her experience in “policy development, budget management, and conflict resolution” would serve her well on the board.

TOP PRIORITIES

Transparency/accountability, engagement, advocacy

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Nicole wants “proactive reporting” of board decisions (no further details on this yet). Nicole will lobby for an increase in per-student funding to meet the national average (that would be a $1200 per-student increase, according to 2014-2015 numbers). She also wants more funds for up-to-date classroom resources.

Tom Ferris

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Tom is a retired businessman who has been a school trustee since for at least 22 years (I couldn’t find election records prior to 1996). He’s served as board chair and is currently vice-chair. Tom is also a former board member for Swan Lake Nature Conservancy.

TRACK RECORD

Tom doesn't have any specific track record information available. But it seems worth mentioning that he was chair of the board during the 2011 controversy over strategic planning.

TOP PRIORITIES

‘Exemplary governance’, strategic planning

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Tom hasn’t put forward any specific proposals, but has indicated that strategic planning, math proficiency, and ‘aboriginal learners’ are “areas of particular concern” to him.

Vincent Gornall


BACKGROUND

Vincent is a ‘technical investigator’ for the provincial government, which sounds like a job from CSI, but it’s part of the Registration and Certificate Division. He’s a father and a union steward.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

Vincent coordinated and led guided walks as part of the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network and Jane’s Walks. He’s also been an active member of the Hillside-Quadra Neighbourhood Action Committee and the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association.

WHY HE RAN

Vincent’s daughter will be starting school soon, and he wants to “ensure that public schools provide the best education that they possibly can.”

TOP PRIORITIES

Community use of facilities, after-school care, supporting ‘diverse learners’

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Nothing specific, but more generally he wants to improve school transportation, and expand learning opportunities around “food systems and the natural environment.” He’s also indicated that he supports SOGI 123 (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity inclusiveness program produced by the ARC Foundation).

Elaine Leonard

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Elaine has been a trustee for 22 years, and chaired the board for three. She works in administration for a nonprofit. She’s a former director of Silver Threads and Rock Solid. She and her children attended school in the district, and she was a PAC volunteer.

TRACK RECORD

Elaine has served on many community advisory committees, and chaired the Operations and Planning committee. While running for trustee in 2011, she spoke about how the board had successfully advocated for increased funding for the district.

TOP PRIORITIES

Diverse programming, funding

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

All that’s mentioned is her belief in “a diverse program program of the fine arts, physical activity, and academics.”

Diane McNally

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Diane is a retired district teacher who was first elected to the board in 2011. She’s served on the board of the BCSPCA Wild ARC, the BCSPCA Victoria Community Council, and Early Music Society of the Islands. She’s a former executive of the Greater Victoria Teacher’s Association, and former President of the Local Specialist’s Association, Special Education. She has a B.Ed and an MBA.

TRACK RECORD

Diane has pushed for greater board accountability. She runs a blog where she publishes detailed records of board debates and votes (she introduced the 2012 motion that allowed for board votes to be recorded). She’s shared a track record of every single motion she’s introduced since her election in 2011 (if you have time to read that, send me your findings!). Diane also pushed for a Student Trustee on the board, and recently led the first draft of the new Animals in Classrooms Policy.

TOP PRIORITIES

Indigenous learners, program fees, special-needs students

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Diane’s platform is a summary of her stances on issues, rather than a series of concrete proposals. Notably, she’s against private funding of the district and individual schools (through a foundation or charitable donations) because she feels it undermines school equity. She also believes sports or other “‘academies’ are a soft slide to privatization,” due to their program fees. She questions why ‘gifted’ special education programs have been retained, while other special-needs programs have been subsumed into the classroom.

Ryan Painter


BACKGROUND

Ryan is an Administrative Officer for the UVic Faculty Association. Previously, he worked for BC Assessment, and on BC NDP campaigns. He’s also worked as a constituency assistant for NDP MLA Gary Holman, and as an ESL teacher abroad. Ryan has a BA in History from UBC.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

In addition to his work with the BC NDP, Ryan has been outspoken about struggling with mental illness and it’s stigma (“utilizing social media and various blogs” as well as giving presentations).

WHY HE RAN

Ryan has struggled with mental illness since childhood, and he found some of his greatest supports at school. He wants to bring his experience with campaigning and advocating for those with mental illness to the board, to “ensure that no child, youth, or young adult had to struggle to manage their mental illness like I did.”

TOP PRIORITIES

Mental health, engagement, funding

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Ryan wants to implement a “district-wide mental health framework,” and ensure every school has a “dedicated grief and loss counsellor.” He also proposes monthly board ‘open houses’ throughout the district to engage parents and community members, and monthly meetings with union officials and administrators.

Rob Paynter

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Rob is a manager at BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, and is running for his second term as trustee. Previously, he was a junior officer with the Canadian Armed Forces and worked abroad on UN Peacekeeping missions. Rob initially got involved with the school board as a public participant and observer of meetings, after he was frustrated by the district’s response to the “protracted bullying” of one of his children. Rob has a B.Sci in Geography and Environmental Studies.

TRACK RECORD

Rob was involved in the 2015 strategic planning process, and supported motions for more transparency and accountability on the board. He’s also the chair of the newly-formed Finance and Audit Committee. On his website, Rob shares a breakdown of the progress made by the board towards his 2014 platform goals, but doesn’t stipulate which initiatives or motions he’s led.

TOP PRIORITIES

Strategic planning, accountability, engagement

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Rob’s platform is focused more on the governance process (openness, consultation, procedures) than outcomes. Some notable specifics include introducing regular “town hall meetings” with middle school and secondary students, requiring all board sub-committees to publish their meeting minutes, and assigning trustees to schools across the district, instead of within a catchment area.

Jordan Watters

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Jordan is a research consultant and an Investigations Analyst for the BC Representative of Children and Youth, with a research interest in “traditionally under-serviced populations and communities.” She is running for her second term as trustee (first elected in 2014). Jordan has an MA in Sociology from Queen’s, and is a mother to three young boys.

TRACK RECORD

In the last four years, Jordan has led a number of initiatives, including the development of the “most progressive Gender Identity and Gender Expression Policy and Regulations of any school district in the province.” She also developed an ‘Equity Policy’ to direct resources to schools with the greatest need, led the revision of district dress codes (on the principle that “no body is a distraction”), initiated the participation of the district in Victoria’s Pride Parade, and served as the only trustee member of the Strategic Plan Writing Group. She also runs an advocacy page on Facebook called Support for BC Students (18,600 subscribers).

TOP PRIORITIES

“Student-centred governance,” inclusion, school equity

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Specific proposals include adding out-of-school childcare spaces by deploying the district’s “own CUPE staff.” She also wants to lead a district-wide “strategy in support of healthy relationships and the prevention of sexualized violence.” Jordan would advocate for opening (or re-opening) a new elementary school by the 2020-2021 school year, and working “collaboratively with Esquimalt and Songhees Nations” on an “ambitious new vision” for Craigflower and Shoreline schools.

Ann Whiteaker

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Ann is running for her second term as trustee. She’s a former financial administrator at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. Previously, she served as a council member of the Teacher Regulation Branch, and as president of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils. She’s a volunteer Mentor Mom with 1Up Single Parent Resource Centre, and a volunteer Parent Support Circle Facilitator with Parent Support Services of BC. She has diplomas from Camosun in Business Administration and Human Resources.

TRACK RECORD

Ann led the creation of the Parent Education Fund for “school-based parent education opportunities” in the district.

TOP PRIORITIES

Equitable access to resources, long-term planning, “effective leadership in schools”

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Ann wants to increase “resources that build mental health literacy” in schools, and increase student and community engagement when planning big changes to school facilities or land use. Ann will also introduce new “expectations” (such as “student-focused decision-making”) to ensure principals are up to snuff.

About

This website was haphazardly created by unaffiliated Victoria resident, Danielle Leduc McQueen.

All information was compiled and collected in my spare time from candidate websites, newspaper articles, and LinkedIn profiles. I’ve tried to reference sources where relevant and keep a neutral stance, but this website was necessarily informed by my perspectives - I’m a millennial renter and new mom. I’m also a believer in the importance of democracy, and think government should be informed, policy-driven, and inclusive.

I created this site to hopefully encourage more people (especially young people) to get interested in municipal politics, get informed, and get voting.

Get in touch:

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