Michelle Kirby next to the restored Bowker Creek area behind Oak Bay High, an initiative she supported during her term as Oak Bay councillor from 2011 to 2018. Kirby is seeking to represent the NDP riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head in the next provincial election. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Former councillor Michelle Kirby in race for nomination with Murray Rankin

Kirby seeks Oak Bay Gordon Head nomination

Former Oak Bay councillor Michelle Kirby, the current manager of engagement for Childcare B.C., is running for the Oak Bay-Gordon Head NDP nomination.

Kirby announced her intention to seek the nomination on Sept. 2, and until last week, she was the only registered candidate seeking the nomination. That changed, when former Victoria MP Murray Rankin announced he is also seeking the Oak Bay Gordon Head nomination.

READ MORE: Murray Rankin eyes Oak Bay-Gordon Head nomination

“I welcome Murray to the race – he’s made immense contributions to our community over many decades,” Kirby said. “It’s an honour to be in a nomination race with him.”

The Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding is held by incumbent MLA Andrew Weaver, who stepped down as the B.C. Green party leader and said he will not run in the next election. Kirby has been closely aligned with the B.C. NDP for most of her adult life. She was a youth member of the Victoria-Beacon Hill executive and then joined the executive board for the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding from 2005 until 2011 when she joined Oak Bay council.

“I would love to do it,” Kirby said. “I’ve been energized by the outpouring of support for my campaign from grassroots members and labour, environment and community leaders.

“I know I can win this riding. I’ve been directly elected by the people of Oak Bay twice. I have deep roots in this community and people are looking for a new voice that will take us forward to build on the progress of the last three years.”

While Rankin has a history in environmental law, Kirby has a track record of rolling up her sleeves for supporting the Bowker Creek area, which has become a hub behind the new Oak Bay High, and several restorations in Oak Bay.

As manager of engagement for Childcare B.C., Kirby has travelled the province to engage local governments, First Nations and school districts to encourage them to apply for funding from the $1-billion NDP pledge towards child care in the 2018 throne speech.

READ ALSO: MP Murray Rankin will not seek re-election

“Child care has been the fight of my life,” Kirby said. “Over the last two years, I have had the honour of working directly on the NDP government’s historic Childcare B.C. program, and have helped deliver thousands of affordable and accessible child care spaces across the province.”

Until then, Kirby worked in web management for the Canadian Revenue Agency and was a two-term Oak Bay councillor from 2011 to 2018.

“It’s why I left local government. Universal child care is an incredible way to bring equality and opportunity to women and it lifts single parents out of poverty.”

Kirby announced her nomination bid with a list of testaments from local NDP supporters such as former MP Denise Savoie and BCGEU vice-president James Coccola.

“This nomination will be decided by NDP members in Oak Bay Gordon Head and nobody else,” Kirby said. “My focus is to earn each and every vote from the constituents I hope to represent in the legislature.”

The provincial election is set for Saturday, Oct. 24, with advanced voting taking place from Oct. 16 to Oct. 21.


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