Voters across the region starting with its largest community, Saanich, opted for change during the 2018 municipal election. Travis Paterson/News Staff

EDITORIAL: Voters across Greater Victoria embrace progressive ideas, new course in regional governance

Election results also reveal regional fissure between core and outer communities

Voters across Greater Victoria opted for change Saturday night, infusing their councils with a new generation of young, progressive politicians, while charting a cautious but new course in regional governance.

RELATED: Saanich voters send Haynes to mayor’s office, reject political slate

Nowhere was this appetite more apparent than in the region’s largest municipality, Saanich, where voters changed their mayor for the second time in as many elections by replacing one-term mayor Richard Atwell with one-term councillor Fred Haynes. He will now chair an historic council that includes five women and a quartet of young, progressive voices after Ned Taylor, Nathalie Chambers, Zac de Vries, and Rebecca Mersereau won election with Mersereau topping the polls with more than 18,000 votes, the most of any regional candidate. Saanich voters also combined with voters in Victoria to create forum that will study the pros and cons of amalgamating the two largest municipalities in Greater Victoria.

RELATED: Victoria and Saanich voters elect to move ahead with amalgamation talks

This citizens’ assembly may not recommend amalgamation. But its very existence renders the old ways of regional governance increasingly obsolete.

Voters also rejected the status quo elsewhere. Oak Bay, Sidney and Colwood turfed their respective incumbent mayors, Nils Jensen, Steve Price, and Carol Hamilton. While these communities represent smaller pieces of the regional picture, their choices send a clear signal: candidates, who counted on experience in their campaigns, appeared as agents of the status quo in the minds of many, a fatal mistake.

RELATED: Challengers topple incumbents in several South Island races

True, voters in Victoria and Langford opted for stability in re-electing Lisa Helps and Stew Young. But these familiar figures are the faces of a regional fissure now in full view: while the regional ‘core’ (Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich and Oak Bay) rewarded more or less ‘progressive’ candidates, its outer communities favoured (for the most part) different categories.

RELATED: Mayoral results from across B.C.

Both choices are legitimate, but Saturday’s vote tipped the balance in favour of the progressive camp. Its representatives will now have to work across the political divide to confirm the confidence, which they earned Saturday in a ground-breaking election that witnessed strong turnout in many communities, include a new 10-year-record for Victoria, but also multiple acclamations on the West Shore.

Democracy depends on participation and the competition of idea, and voters clearly signalled their preferences Saturday. Now starts the process of turning their signals into substance.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Greater Victoria developer rushes to demolish historic wall before Oak Bay applies heritage permit

Abstract Development punches holes in one of Oak Bay’s oldest stone walls

With $4M investment, Camosun College offers first sonography program on Vancouver Island

Starting in May 2020 students from Vancouver Island can pursue a career in sonography

New accessible playground opens at View Royal’s Eagle View Elementary School

Students overjoyed while faculty and parents feel relief

School district launches survey for George Jay Elementary name change

The Greater Victoria School District wants to take public cues before decisions are made

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Elizabeth May confirms plan to eliminate fish farming in open ocean pens

Green Party leader stops in Qualicum Beach as part of Island campaign

STRIKE: WFP and USW are back at the table for mediation

“No further updates until either an agreement is reached or one party or the other breaks off talks”

Green Party leader Elizabeth May rolls through Vancouver Island to boost a party stronghold

Mocks media, evokes Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and promises change

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

Most Read