Election race kicks off

Five candidates in riding so far

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With the federal election set for Monday, Oct. 21, Saanich-Gulf Islands candidates for the major political parties are ready to roll.

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May is the riding’s incumbent, having served since winning the seat in 2011. So far she is being challenged by Ryan Windsor of the Liberal Party, David Busch of the Conservatives, Sabina Singh for the NDP and Ronald Broda for the People’s Party of Canada.

Windsor is the mayor of the District of Central Saanich, elected in 2014. He is taking an unpaid leave from that position to run for the Liberals. He has led the municipality’s climate leadership plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from transportation and buildings.

Singh is a single mother of two who has taught political science at post-secondary institutions, including the University of Victoria and Camosun College. She has worked with her community to push for electoral reform, protect drinking water and get justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Busch currently works as a lawyer, and has experience working as a critical care nurse. He has been the Conservative party’s nominee for a year. He has worked as a litigator throughout the province, and has volunteered politically since he was in high school, including for the Saanich-Gulf Islands Conservative Association and the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Campaign.

Broda is a retired police officer who has worked with the Vancouver Police Department, the Saanich Police Department and with the Canada Border Services Agency, and currently works as a speaker and coach. He is a founding member of Stelly’s Community Arts Theatre Society and organizes the annual Westcoast Motorcycle Ride to Live in support of the Island Prostate Centre.

While campaign periods typically involve signs popping up across the islands, one party has pledged to not use the signs on public property in the Gulf Islands during the election. Busch’s campaign will be abstaining from the practice, and instead will only have signs displayed on private property during the campaign period.

“Campaign signs are simply out of sync with the unique ‘preserve and protect’ culture that makes the Gulf Islands a unique part of this riding. We have therefore decided not to place campaign signs on public property this election,” Busch said in a statement. “We will be advising the other political parties and asking them to follow our lead and not pollute the environment with campaign signs on Gulf Islands public spaces.”

Signs for the Green Party campaign are up at various locations on Salt Spring.

Candidates May, Singh, Busch and Broda made appearances at this past weekend’s Fall Fair. The official nomination period is open until Sept. 30, so more candidates may declare their candidacy in the coming weeks.

Voter registration can be completed online at the Elections Canada website.

The Salt Spring Forum will once again be hosting an all-candidates debate at the Gulf Islands Secondary School gymnasium on Wednesday, Oct. 16 starting at 3 p.m.

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