The pending drop of the federal election writ will see Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor take an unpaid leave of absence starting next week.
Windsor’s unpaid leave of absence will start the morning of Monday, Sept. 16, and run through the morning of Monday, Oct. 28, one week after the actual election day.
Windsor is running for the federal Liberals in the Saanich–Gulf Islands riding against incumbent and Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May, Tory candidate David Busch and New Democrat Sabina Singh.
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet called an election, the time to call one is running out, with the last possible date being Sept. 15 — one day before the start of Windsor’s pending unpaid leave of absence, which Central Saanich council had unanimously approved on June 17, before Windsor’s official nomination on June 29.
Coun. Chris Graham will act as alternate mayor during Windsor’s absence, while Coun. Bob Thompson will serve as Windsor’s alternate at the Capital Regional District (CRD).
Windsor said he could potentially receive money from the District while away because of the prevailing payment schedule. “I hope the public will understand,” he said. “When I asked for it [the unpaid leave of absence], I didn’t know exactly when the date would be. It [the amount] would be very, very, very small. We are talking about a couple of hundred dollars at most,” he said.
Looking at the election campaign itself, Windsor said he aims to focus his campaign on local issues.
“Since I was nominated on June 29, I have been out door-knocking every opportunity that I have had,” he said. “I have been from Sidney all the way down to Gordon Head, and I have made some contacts on the Gulf Islands as well.”
The official start of the campaign will come after a series of funding announcements by the federal Liberals in Greater Victoria, including a funding announcement in Central Saanich itself, when Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced $16 million in federal funding for a highway overpass at Keating Cross Road estimated to cost at least $44 million.
So was that announcement good for Windsor’s candidacy?
“It’s good for the community,” said Windsor.
The community’s push for a solution has been ongoing for decades, said Windsor, noting his involvement as a mayor on the file dates back to 2015.
“At that time, my mind was nowhere near federal politics,” he said.
Windsor said he is glad to see the project get underway, with more work to be done.
“My mind will always be on that, and I’m happy to talk about it during the election about where we are at and where we are going,” he said. “It is not the only thing that our community needs. Certainly, Saanich–Gulf Islands has had other investments in the past, and will need more.”