Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP hopes to revisit Pathway Project

Program helped youth gain employment, finish school

Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP Randall Garrison at Esquimalt’s centennial celebration at Esquimalt Gorge Park

Key issues are top of mind in 2015.

With an election year on the horizon, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca MP Randall Garrison said the upcoming federal election is big news, but added local issues including programming closures at the Pathway Project are among initiatives he hopes to revisit in the coming years.

“The best part of Pathway was it took kids who might end up costing society in terms of welfare or justice costs and got them back into school or jobs and (had) a high success rate, for a very modest investment,” Garrison said. “Working to help get kids on track to make something out of their lives, it was inspirational and I will do my best to get it back.”

The West Shore youth employment initiative lost its funding earlier this year and remains on Garrison’s radar alongside national security in the face of the attacks in Ottawa, long waits for employment insurance, the crisis around declining killer whale populations and increased environmental issues including the potential for increased tanker traffic. The MP said the public could even see a federal election as early as April; Garrison confirmed he has been nominated and will be running again

“That is going to be the main federal story,” Garrison said. “We have seen some moves in just the last week in trying to restore funding to some of the things (the government) cut, in veterans affairs in particular, maybe acknowledging (the government has) gone too far.”

Federal investments including naval base and ship construction in Esquimalt, the Craigflower Bridge shared by Saanich and View Royal as well as improvements on the E & N Railway, pushed the total federal investment in Garrison’s riding as the highest of any MP in Canada. Building on that he said raising the minimum wage and finding more locally affordable childcare are two other issues he hopes to track moving forward.

“As an opposition member we have a pretty good record here on getting federal spending,” Garrison said.

alim@goldstreamgazette.com