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Victoria Liberal candidate hopes to bring climate knowledge, collaboration to Ottawa

Nikki Macdonald hopes her background shows voters she can deliver on addressing climate change
Nikki Macdonald, the Liberal candidate for Victoria. (Photo courtesy of the Nikki Macdonald)

This is one of several profiles on the main candidates running in the Victoria riding in the 2021 federal election.

After talking with more than 3,000 Victoria voters so far, Nikki Macdonald waved back at two young kids greeting her from a blue Subaru’s backseat as the Liberal candidate began a day of canvassing the Oaklands neighbourhood on Aug. 25.

After unexpectedly entering the 2019 race, Macdonald is running again and hoping momentum and her experience will be able to flip Victoria from orange to red.

“I was able to really build my profile in 2019 and so more people know me and know my background,” she said.

During most of her doorstep chats, Macdonald is hearing that folks’ biggest concern is climate change. She hopes her time with environmental agencies both in and out of government, plus her PhD, will sway voters.

“Having someone with my background and experience in ocean and climate research on the ballot, I think, makes a difference for them,” she said. “They want someone who can actually bring meaningful solutions to help us in Victoria really do something.”

Mothers have told her they’re worried about the world that’s being left for their kids. Macdonald points to the Liberal track record, especially adopting net-zero emissions accountability legislation, for why they’re the best party to tackle the issue. She also touts local federal investments into building retrofits and electric vehicles.

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While she finished behind the NDP and Greens in 2019, Macdonald said the internal challenges facing the Greens and the NDP’s inability to form government historically enhance her cause. She said that leaves the Liberals and Conservatives, but the Tory climate plan isn’t bold enough for Victoria voters.

The other big issue she’s hearing about is housing. Macdonald said she wants to build missing-middle housing – like duplexes and townhouses – that could support families and allow seniors to age in place.

“The funding is there, what we need now is collaboration with the province and with the municipalities to build that here.”

She also highlighted the Liberal promise to ban foreign owners from buying Canadian houses for two years – a policy proposal they share with the Conservatives.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau dissolved Parliament two years early in search of a majority mandate and Macdonald, echoing her leader, said partisanship has halted progress in the House of Commons. While working as a policy advisor for the House, Macdonald worked with MPs ranging from social conservatives to progressives to advance same-sex marriage legislation in the 2000s. She said that collaboration among parties is important, but singled out the Conservatives for delaying action with “partisan antics.”

“A majority government will allow us to put through the urgent action we need on climate and also the national child care plan.”

READ: Parties pledge support for B.C.’s old-growth forests as RCMP crack down on activists


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