Posted by: Editor | April 30, 2011

Third Time Lucky

Third Time Lucky

Will it be DeSouza or Garrison that we send to Ottawa?

– By Tim Morrison

The Conservative’s Troy DeSouza and the NDP’s Randall Garrison are about as politically opposite as you can get. One is firmly on the right while the other equally firm on the left. But, one commonality the two aspiring MPs share is that both ran twice before against populist Dr. Keith Martin and both are the only two opponents that came closest to defeating our respected but retiring Member of Parliament (see riding history by clicking here). One certainty is that this time around, it will be third-time lucky for one of the two men, but the question still remains as to which one?

When the federal election first kicked off over a month ago, my initial instincts were that the Conservative’s Troy DeSouza would win in our highly competitive riding of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. But, things have changed. During the past week, it has been said many times that no one expected this Jack Layton surge and it is has also been said that this sudden surge is something much more than a passing blip in the fickle world of politics. So, what does it mean locally for us as Esquimalt voters?

Garrison: can he pull it off?

My political junkie cohorts, from across the country, have been calling and emailing, asking for the local scuttlebutt of what is going to happen in Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca. Apparently, we are one the most closely watched ridings for all of Canada. The nation’s eyes are on us, so much so that we were singled out for a public opinion poll by OraclePoll Research this past week that indicated a statistical dead heat between DeSouza and Garrison. The scientific poll reported 40% for DeSouza and 35% for Garrison with the Liberal’s Lillian Szpak a distant third at 15% and the Green Party at a higher than expected 10% showing. While the vote-splitting on the left appears to be benefitting DeSouza with a 5% lead, the margin of error is +/- 5%, which means DeSouza could just as easily be behind Garrison by 5%. More likely, the two candidates are about even. Depending on whether or not Liberals and Greens switch their votes, the final victory could go either way.

DeSouza: has the MacKenzie Overpass been overplayed?


On Monday night, it will be another certain nail-biter as election results pile in from across our vast riding that stretches from Saanich through Esquimalt and up beyond the West Shore.

Pundits from across the nation are still predicting DeSouza will edge out a victory based on how close he came last time, but I am no longer convinced of that. The whole “McKenzie Overpass” strategy has been too overplayed and likely peaked more in the last election than this one. My gut feeling tells me that it will be Esquimalt’s very own Randall Garrison that wins in a squeaker, with the “Jack Layton factor” making it happen. The fact is that voters in our neck of the woods tend to root more for the “common man” than the government establishment. We have voted for the Reform Party, Canadian Alliance, etc, in the past not because we are a right-wing riding, but because we are populist protest voters. Prior to the rise of Dr. Martin, our region voted heavily NDP as part of our “little guy” anti-Ottawa sentiment. Provincially, the communities of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca are solid NDP strongholds with all the on-the-ground organization that goes along with that. Add to the mix the recent fine-tuned machinery that local NDP leadership candidate John Horgan has handed over to the Garrison campaign and you begin to see how a path is being cleared for Garrison to be the one that will be third-time lucky.

 Like a lot local voters, however, I am still uncertain how I will vote on Monday. The question I am grappling with is whether or not Harper deserves to be rewarded and trusted with a majority and whether or not the NDP qualify to be put into a position where they can conceivably lead a coalition government? As residents of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, the nation is telling us that our votes in our swingiest of ridings will have more of an impact in deciding the above question. While that’s a lot of pressure, it is also an important reminder of why we must turn out to vote. The nation is waiting to hear what we have to say…and we should take that anticipation very seriously.


  1. Couldn’t that +/- 5% could also make the Liberals and NDP even? And they only talked to a couple hundred people – not really a good sampling. I’ll be making my decision based on the actual candidates, I think, not polls or website recommendations.

  2. Most people vote based on Party and Leader. Right now, Layton is the most popular leader by far and the NDP are a popular party on Vancouver Island in general. Garrisson will win, but you’re right, it will be close.

  3. The Project Democracy Group are urging Liberal and Green voters in this riding to vote for the NDP in order to stop Harper from getting his majority:

  4. The chance that in the OraclePoll that DeSousa is tied with Garrison is very remote. The odds of that is less than 5%. The margin of error number is the measure of a bell curve and the further you get from the value reported, the less likely the number is.

    The margin is large enough that DeSousa is clearly in the lead, that assumes the pollster knows what they are doing. This is a company that has done very few polls and no long track record of accuracy

  5. Has anyone else noticed that the NDP have the most lawn signs on private properties of the homes of real voters? The Conservatives seem to be second on that count, while the vast majority of Liberal signs seem to be placed on general public property by Liberal campaigners, but not much in the way of actual voters’ private homes. While it is not a scientific poll, I walk my dog in every neighbourhood of Esquimalt and the NDP clearly have the advantage.

  6. Canada’s independent Election Prediction Project website just predicted Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca will go to the NDP. The website has a highly successful track record of accurately predicting seat counts in Canadian elections.

  7. Recent riding-specific poll, by Oracle commissioned by Project Democracy mentioned above had Garrison in 2nd, within striking distance late last week.

    This means that anyone in Esq. Juan de Fuca who would like to stop the Conservative Mr. DeSouza from winning must go with the NDP ‘surge’ and lay off both the Liberal and the Green candidates. Otherwise the vote will very likely be split and the Conservative will win.


    For those interested, a Comprehensive Guide To Surge and Strategic Voting in BC to stop Conservatives can be found here.


  8. […] NDP’s Randall Garrison (the only candidate from Esquimalt on the ballot) would end up victorious (see post below). It appears that my predictions came true. Just moments ago, Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca had the honour […]

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