Cowichan-Malahat-Langford: Meet the new Liberal candidate

Stepping into a candidate role midway through an election campaign is not something that everyone could pull off.

Saanich resident Luke Krayenhoff is hoping to do his best to make an impact in the 17 days until the federal election as the Liberal Party’s candidate in the realigned and renamed Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding.

“It places me in the underdog position, but the party as a whole has been great in getting the message out and Trudeau has been doing great in the debates,” he says.

Chosen to replace Maria Manna, who announced Monday she was stepping down, Krayenhoff has had to rally the troops quickly this week to get his campaign up and running. Having already contested the Liberal nomination in the Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke riding that includes much of the West Shore, he was previously vetted by the party, he says.

Sounding like a team player, Krayenhoff graciously chalked up his loss to David Merner in that nomination race as good for the Liberals.

“He’s kind of a superstar in the party, he’s an easy guy to lose to.”

As a former RCMP officer who’s worked in government to help streamline police services, not to mention lived near the Royal Canadian Navy’s Pacific Fleet for most of his life, Krayenhoff holds a special place in his heart for current and former service people. “Veterans issues are a top priority for me,” he says.

At the same time, in this riding he’s conscious of the traffic issues that have become worse as Langford, especially, has grown. While he’s pleased the province has taken initial steps on an interchange at McKenzie/Admirals roads and the Trans Canada Highway – located in the other riding – more can be done, he says.

“We really have to get going on transportation initiatives; we’ve really got to get that Highway 1 moving,” he says. While transit solutions have to be part of the overall solution, he adds, “the other one is the rail.”

He points to the success of light rail transit on the mainland and says it’s Greater Victoria’s turn to start building an efficient, effective commuter system using the existing rail bed along the E & N line.

“I know the Island Corridor Foundation has been struggling along to get things going, working to get funding commitments, but I’d like to see the feds and province step in to help.”

In terms of job creation and economic strategies, Krayenhoff appreciates the LIberals’ balanced approach. Having worked many years in the public and private sectors in what he calls “change management,” he has a pretty clear idea how the system should work.

“The role of government is to set the stage for the private sector to create wealth,” he says. “The idea is not to get everybody working for the civil service, it’s to have a good foundation to grow the economy. Government can be kind of a baffling thing, and it’s important to know (its) limitations and I think I do.”

Acknowledging the riding’s diversity, from the more agricultural, resource base of the Cowichan Valley in the north to the more urban development-minded tone of Langford, with First Nations playing a role throughout,

Krayenhoff says he feels the Liberals have the best plan that works for all.

“There’s a lot of people who are going to vote strategically to unseat Harper, but I really think the Liberals have the best chance of forming government; we have the most credibility,” he says. “Once you’re in, you have to have a good set of policies, and we do.”