1 Mayor
8 City Councillors
9 School Trustees

Victoria's municipal election is October 20th. Here's a (pretty) objective summary of the candidates and issues.

Municipal government matters.

Victoria is shaped by city politics. The mayor, council, and school board make decisions that affect you everyday.

What kind of city do you want to live in? Have your say on October 20th.

Vote if you care about:
Development & affordable housing
Bike lanes & transportation
Taxes & city spending
Community
Parks & Recreation
Zoning & re-zoning
Infrastructure & city streets
Policing & emergency response
Homelessness
Schools

Candidates for Mayor

For those interested in order: Incumbent first, followed by the top three candidates with the most civic experience & support (in alphabetical order), followed by the remaining candidates in random order.

Lisa Helps

INCUMBENT

BACKGROUND

Lisa is the current mayor of Victoria and a past 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

Lisa has now released her 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 would also work to complete the Westshore rapid transit lanes and the “all-ages-and-abilities” bike network.” She would make Government street pedestrian-only in the summer, and plan for a new Central Library downtown, while keeping tax increases at inflation plus 1%.

Learn more on her website > > >

Stephen Hammond

'NEW COUNCIL'

BACKGROUND

Stephen is a former lawyer who now runs harassment training workshops for workplaces. He has a law degree from York. He helped found the ‘Mad as Hell’ neighbourhood group in opposition to the 2016 courthouse ‘tent city’.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

Stephen is a long-time Big Brothers volunteer, has been involved in activism for LGBTQ issues and renters’ rights, and has served as a board member for the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, as well as Our Place Society.

WHY HE'S RUNNING

Stephen says he can solve what he sees are the problems of the city’s current leadership, such as money wasted on “ego projects” and “pet projects,” the “favored status” granted to “lobbyists and activists,” and a lack of consultation with neighbourhoods.

TOP PRIORITIES

“Restore trust,” tax cuts, downtown safety.

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Stephen’s platform has only a handful of specific policy proposals at this time. These include tying tax increases to inflation, requiring accurate project costs before projects are permitted to go ahead (it is not clear how he would guarantee this), stopping bike lane expansion until neighbourhoods are consulted, and safeguarding downtown parking. New Council has indicated over email that they have a plan to house all tent city residents, with details forthcoming.











Learn more on his website > > >

Michael Geoghegan


BACKGROUND

Mike is a political consultant and lobbyist who ran for Saanich council in 2014 (he lives in Saanich, but also owns a home in Victoria). He has a BA in Economics from UVic.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

Aside from his work as a consultant and lobbyist, he was an executive director of the BC Council of Construction Trades Association (6 months); and President and CEO of the BC Construction Association (7 months).

WHY HE'S RUNNING

Mike thinks NIMBYism and municipal red tape (for small businesses and construction companies) are stopping affordable development. He argues that his lobbyist background gives him the skills and experience to get more funding for housing from the provincial and federal governments.

TOP PRIORITIES

Affordable housing, a “healthier city,” and a more “business friendly city.”

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Mike has many proposals on his website, some more specific than others. For example, he wants to “leverage city-owned land for low-income and co-op family housing,” but doesn’t specify how. Concrete proposals include free recreation passes for children, relocating bike lanes to side roads,  increasing the number of public parkades, and creating a ‘voting dashboard’ on the city website to see how council voted. Mike also wants to rescind the BC Energy Step Code (a voluntary standard to improve energy efficiency in new buildings) because he says it makes new housing more expensive.








Learn more on his website > > >

Bruce McGuigan


BACKGROUND

Bruce is a professor Sociology at VIU, a consultant, and the former executive director of Family Services of Greater Victoria. He has an MA in Sociology from UofC.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

He’s served on the boards of BC Famlies in Transition, Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre, and the Victoria Social Innovation Centre (which he co-founded). Bruce also worked for ten years as a senior policy analyst for the provincial government.

WHY HE'S RUNNING

Bruce thinks city hall is serving special interests, and wants to see more public consultation and ‘transparent’ decision-making. He also argues that his ten years of experience working with street youth in the 1970s and 1980s lends him a unique perspective to deal with homelessness.

TOP PRIORITIES

Public consultation, affordable housing, transportation.

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Bruce's platform criticizes the promises made by other candidates as idealistic. He talks about what policy is and where it should come from, but hasn't yet put forward many policy proposals that meet his own criteria. Of the few specifics in his platform, Bruce wants to build city-owned rental housing (at market and affordable rates), and depending on ‘demand’ and funding, create “artist live/work studios” and an affordable residence for retired artists. Bruce would also eliminate the right-turn delay on the downtown bike lanes (He thinks the bike lanes were “over-engineered” and “too costly”), and implement the five ‘Calls to Action’ for municipal governments from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Lastly, Bruce would create a volunteer "Mayor's Commission for a Sustainable Victoria" to comment on the sustainability of council initiatives.

Learn more on his website > > >

Rob Duncan

ROB HAS NOW WITHDRAWN

BACKGROUND

Rob Duncan is best known for running for mayor in 2014 as Changes the Clown, to bring attention to child poverty. His website states that he’s “currently working in low-barrier supported housing.” He has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Waterloo.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

Rob is the organizer of Clowns Against Child Poverty.

WHY HE'S RUNNING

Rob thinks Victoria is in the midst of a ‘housing crisis’, and he is positioning himself as “Victoria’s Housing Solution Candidate.”

TOP PRIORITIES

Housing, affordability

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

**Rob unofficially withdrew from the race on October 10th. He wants his supporters to vote for Mike Geoghegan instead.**

Most of Rob’s proposals are related to housing. Notable examples include requiring 20% of all units in multi-unit rental buildings to be affordable, and establishing a municipal campground. He also wants to increase the foreign buyers tax and property transfer tax, and create an annual foreign owners tax and empty homes tax. Non-housing related proposals include stopping the construction of bike lanes until usage increases, introducing a ‘living wage’ for all municipal employees, and creating a monthly ‘citizens assembly’ to collaborate with city hall.

Learn more on his website > > >

Chris Zmuda


BACKGROUND

Chris is the owner of the “Taste of Europe” Deli on Yates, previously located on Fort St.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

Nothing listed on his website, aside from filing complaints with city council.

WHY HE'S RUNNING

Chris’s shop was sandwiched between two marijuana dispensaries in 2017, and he was unsatisfied with the lack of response from the city. He has a lot of anger for the mayor and council.

TOP PRIORITIES

Marijuana dispensaries, Homelessness, traffic.

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Chris’s platform is written in all-caps. Proposals include scrapping bike lanes, shutting down illegal pot shops, banning overnight camping, removing the rainbow crosswalks, building new parkades, and making police “visible everywhere and anytime.”

Learn more on his website > > >

Saul Andersen


BACKGROUND

Saul is a cab driver with Victoria Taxi. He’s run in past federal, provincial, and municipal elections.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

He’s a volunteer with Camas Books and Good Food Box, and served on the board of Camas Books. He was a member of student council from grades 4-7, and he talks to a lot of people as a cab driver.

WHY HE'S RUNNING

Saul says he runs for stuff because "campaigning manifests my concerns for social justice and belief in karma."

TOP PRIORITIES

Affordable housing, zoning, traffic

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

In his official profile he hints at rainwater collection, "boulevard/schoolyard farming" and amalgamation, which he asks, "Worth talking about?" I guess so?

Find him on Twitter > > >

David Arthur Johnston


BACKGROUND

David is a self-described high school dropout from Alberta who had an "epiphany" at Mile 0 twenty years ago, which caused him to take a “vow of poverty.”  He alleges to have not “used money” for fifteen years.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

David went on a hunger strike while serving a nine month jail sentence for his 'right-to-camp' activism at St. Ann's Academy in 2006. The BC Supreme Court eventually struck down the city's law against overnight camping in response.

WHY HE'S RUNNING

David says he is "married to the city," and thinks his experience with bylaws violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms sets him apart. He thinks he will be able to perform the role of mayor without the distraction of “personal financial survival.”

TOP PRIORITIES

"Municipal debt," "drug epidemic," acceptance of tent cities.

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Among more unusual proposals, David wants to see funding for civic events strongly reduced or eliminated. He proposes a "civil deputy training program," consisting in part of martial arts instruction. David would also introduce rehabilitation for drug addiction in the form of a supervised, residential tent city as a sentencing option for narcotics crimes.

Find him on Facebook > > >

Ryan Moen


BACKGROUND

Going by the name ‘Campaign RyMo’, Ryan is a massage therapist with a mission to turn his candidacy for mayor into a pseudo-collaborative art project that also sells postcards.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

Nothing mentioned.

WHY HE'S RUNNING

RyMo is “disenchanted with the pageantry of public addresses, speeches, and elevator pitches” and instead wants to “provoke curiosity and conversation.”

TOP PRIORITIES

Creating space for dialogue.

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Nothing beyond vague intentions to change how democracy works. But you can buy a postcard of naked Ryan in his online shop. So there's that.

Learn more on his website > > >

Alexander Schmid


BACKGROUND

Alexander is a Physics lab instructor at UVic. He was born and raised in Victoria.

CIVIC EXPERIENCE

He is a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

WHY HE'S RUNNING

Alexander wants to make a difference in the lives of residents, particularly those who find that "life is not easy." He thinks there are "many problems" in Victoria, and he wants to help solve them.

TOP PRIORITIES

'Democracy', transportation, "general aesthetic and quality of living"

NOTABLE PROPOSALS

Alexander wants to require referendums and public voting on all "major issues" as well as smaller decisions such as public art selection, but he doesn't say where the funding for this would come from. He also wants to pursue "rail service," hire "homeless people" to clean streets, redesign street lighting, keep Crystal Pool in "its current state," and require all grocery stores to donate unused food.

Learn more on his website > > >

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.

I hope to continue to edit and update candidate summaries as the election approaches and more information becomes available.

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