If Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca residents want a MP who has the ear of government and can deliver on infrastructure, Troy DeSouza says he is the man for the job.
It’s DeSouza’s third stab at gaining the riding for the Conservatives, and is again focusing on traffic woes between the West Shore and Victoria as the cornerstone of his campaign.
DeSouza says he can help deliver federal funding for an overpass at the Trans-Canada Highway and McKenzie Avenue to help solve the daily traffic bottleneck. It’s a solution that will have immediate payoff for residents, he says, and can be built much faster and cheaper than a commuter rail system.
“I support rail and what the Island Corridor Foundation is doing, but until money is on the table I have to deal with urgent realities,” DeSouza said. “There is a huge traffic congestion problem on the Colwood crawl. It affects families and the amount of time it takes to get home. The McKenzie interchange is a practical project.
“Opponents say people should just get out of their cars. That is some top-down, elitist, misguided thinking that doesn’t benefit peoples’ lives.”
DeSouza, 42, a lawyer and family man who lives in Saanich, also has shipbuilding jobs in Esquimalt and the halibut fishery on his radar as key developing issues in the riding.
His party was found in contempt of Parliament which precipitated the non-confidence vote, but he said political games in Ottawa don’t resonate with local voters.
“People I talk to at the door don’t care about inside Ottawa politics. They care about keeping the economy strong and the Colwood crawl. People are fed up with traffic,” DeSouza said. “I’m running on the notion of staying the course on what the government is doing.
“Canada has done tremendously well compared to other G8 nations since the global downturn. It’s entirely attributable to the prudent economic management of the prime minister.”
The 2008 election’s 68 vote gap doesn’t hang over his campaign, he says — each run has a new dynamic and this will be a tough three-way race, although he doesn’t discount the Green candidate.
With Liberal MP Keith Martin stepping aside, DeSouza says the riding is ready for a fresh start with an MP in government. “This riding has had an opposition MP for the past 18 years. I spoke to Keith about this, and I’m sure he was frustrated at times,” he said. “I’m the right guy at the right time at the right place to deliver real results. That separates me from all my opponents.”
DeSouza, a former officer in the Canadian armed forces reserves, admits he first ran against Martin in 2006 on a dare — one of his friends called him “chicken.” Five years later — with at least four visits by the PM — support for the Conservative message has grown tremendously in Esquimalt-JDF, he said.
“This is a bad time to have an election. We are just getting through tough times,” DeSouza said. “Canadians don’t want this kind of unstable, political minority government. The only solution for a strong economy is a four-year stable majority Conservative government.”