NEWS FEATURE: On Juan de Fuca: MLA appreciates its diversity
“I don’t know where the heck the time went,” John Horgan says with a chuckle.
That’s how the New Democratic Party leader initially chose to describe the past 10 years as MLA for the Juan de Fuca riding.
“In the first campaign in 2005, my attitude was to see how it goes and hope I do a good enough job to get re-elected,” he says.
Following a failed leadership bid halfway through his second term, Horgan says his focus remained on doing the best job he could for his constituents. He has managed to increased his margin of victory in three consecutive elections now, and secured the party’s leadership in 2014 after the bitter provincial election defeat in 2013.
Horgan credits much of his success to his ability to maintain good working relationships with all of the mayors in his riding.
“There’s a different focus in each area,” he said.
“Langford is this dynamic, growing urban centre, bordered by Metchosin and the Highlands, (who) fiercely want to remain rural. The riding is an interesting mix of urban and rural all the way to Port Renfrew.”
Horgan sees a lot of good in both extremes and enjoys trying to keep a foot planted firmly in both camps.
“Langford has transformed into a family focused, development friendly urban centre with amazing recreational facilities, which I really enjoy as a sports fan.
“At the same time, I totally respect the rural lifestyle preferred by people in Metchosin and the Highlands. People talk about amalgamation a lot, but you’re dealing with very diverse communities on the West Shore.”
Horgan is quick to point out the positive role that First Nations are increasingly playing in creating economic opportunities and progressing with treaties, especially in Sooke and Port Renfrew. “I like the direction of Sooke’s new council,” he added.
He’s also excited about the two new high schools being built on the West Shore in Langford and Colwood that will provide more trades training opportunities for youth.
“I attend the graduation ceremonies every year at Belmont and Edward Milne (in Sooke),” Horgan said. “The next generation is filled with hope and apprehension about what the future holds. I think it looks bright for young people and young families.”