Light rail, child care on Garrison’s radar

Randall Garrison

Randall Garrison

Randall Garrison is hoping the third time is the charm for his run at the Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding.

“I come from a family that has always given back to the community,” said Garrison, the NDP candidate for Esquimalt-JDF and a current Esquimalt municipal councillor. “I want people to know I am definitely on their side. I face the same challenges and will voice their concerns in Ottawa.”

One issue Garrison says needs addressing traffic congestion on the Colwood crawl. “The congestion problem is real here,” Garrison said.

Garrison, 60, is pushing alternative modes of transportation such as creating more bike lanes and paths. He would also like to see commuter rail and light rail transit implemented in Greater Victoria.

Garrison said projects to promote cycling and commuter rail could start right away but, “obviously LRT is a bigger investment and takes more time.”

Another pursuit of Garrison’s is to make child care more assessable in the riding.

“One hundred dollars a month isn’t enough, it doesn’t ensure there will even be child care available,” Garrison said referring to the universal child care benefit. All families with children under six receive $100 each month per child, from UCCB, to help with child care expenses.

“NDP has always favoured (the idea of) universal child care,” Garrison said adding, we are a long ways away from national child care but he would like to start opening up more child care spaces in Langford and Sooke.

Garrison said he wants to help families in all stages in life, including lowering tuition to keep costs down for post secondary education.

“If you just add more debt and (student) loans, it doesn’t solve the problem.”

For senior citizens, Garrison shares the NDP vision of increasing the “guaranteed income supplement to raise all seniors out of poverty.”

“In terms of financial support, the income of seniors is a very important issue,” Garrison said.

The Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding has some unique challenges, Garrison said.

“It extends from Esquimalt to Port Refrew and it’s one of great diversity,” Garrison said explaining there are both urban centres and rural communities in the riding.

Garrison ran for the NDP in the 2004 and 2006 federal elections. Both times Garrison beat out the Conservative candidate, placing second behind the Liberal MP Keith Martin. Martin is not seeking re-election this time around.

“This time we are in a two-way race,” Garrison said citing his Conservative opponent Troy DeSouza. “I think Lillian (Szpak) is a fine candidate and is very well known in Langford, but Troy and I finished a strong second to Keith and I think it will come down to that.”

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

Candidate at a glance

-Randall Garrison

Party: NDP

Home municipality: Esquimalt

Occupation: Criminal justice instructor at Camosun College; Esquimalt councillor

-Main campaign issues for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca: Alternative modes of transportation, making child care more accessible, keeping post secondary costs down, increasing senior citizen incomes.

-www.randallgarrison.ndp.ca