UVic student kicks off Saanich Council campaign

Local News

Jordan MacDougall’s platform focuses on affordable living in Saanich

Jordan MacDougall at the campaign kickoff event. Photo by Ashlee Levy.
Photo by Ashlee Levy.

Jordan MacDougall kicked off his Saanich Council campaign on April 9 with a barbecue at Beckwith Park. 

MacDougall, a political science and Indigenous studies student, hosted the early campaign event as a way to meet with voters and make himself available to the public prior to the official campaign period which starts in September. 

“[I’m] always free to hear what the people of Saanich and residents in Saanich feel and what they think about certain subjects,” said MacDougall in an interview with the Martlet. 

In addition to studying political science at UVic, MacDougall brings previous election experience to the campaign. Last year, MacDougall ran in the federal election as a candidate with the Green Party in an Albertan riding, where he has family. He also sits on the District of Saanich Arts, Culture, and Heritage Advisory Committee. 

MacDougall’s platform focuses largely on affordable living in Saanich. 

“When my parents were my age, I was already born, my brother was being born, and they had just bought their first house,” said MacDougall, who grew up in the Saanich area. “Only one of my parents graduated high school … but they were still able to afford a family and a house.” 

If elected, he hopes to work toward making what his parents had a possibility again. 

According to MacDougall, many people are forced to commute to Saanich from surrounding communities, such as Sooke and Duncan, where living is more affordable.

“They all do this big long commute to the city to work every day because they can work here but they can’t live here,” said MacDougall. “That’s a classic example of a problem facing Saanich. Where housing affordability, traffic, and the environment all collide into one single issue.” 

 MacDougall hopes to solve this issue by “providing homes for everybody that works here.” 

MacDougall’s platform also prioritizes preserving the suburban, family-oriented nature of Saanich. Instead of building high-rises to increase housing availability, he has other ideas about where housing should be built. 

“I think focusing [on] upscaling [in] key corridors underneath commercial businesses and incorporating small businesses, local businesses under [and within] those buildings will just further strengthen our economy, and it will leave … family-oriented neighbourhoods alone,” said MacDougall. 

According to Macdougall, it is also time Saanich invested more in city infrastructure, including roads. He hopes to update infrastructure so that it lasts longer and withstands changes to the economy and the environment. MacDougall notes the importance of this for preventing situations such as the flooding that happened last year. 

Decolonization is another focus of the campaign, which aims to incorporate Indigenous voices into public spaces in Saanich. 

“I think there should be an effort made to reconcile our past with our present,” said MacDougall. “Just changing the name of a road or just taking down a sign and putting up a new one … [is] simple, it’s not costly, and it really changes the culture in the city and the space of the city in a healthier way that includes other voices.”  

As an example, MacDougall points to PKOLS, or Mount Douglas Park. Although a sign has been placed in the park that informs visitors of its Indigenous name and the significance of the area to Indigenous communities, Mount Douglas signs remain, and many continue to refer to it by its colonial name.   

MacDougall’s final goal is to improve access to mental health services and resources for the people of Saanich. He plans to tackle this issue by improving access to services that already exist and focussing on preventive care.

“The first step is not to just absolutely change the system and incorporate new services, but just allow people to access the services,” said MacDougall.

By creating a guidebook of mental health services in the area, MacDougall believes he can help people better understand the services available to them.

Overall, MacDougall acknowledges that, as a young candidate, he has less experience than others. However, he also believes that he brings a fresh,  youthful perspective to the election and encourages other young people to get involved. 

“I know that a lot of our generation doesn’t vote and feels like a lot of the causes are hopeless,” said MacDougall. “Even if I don’t get elected, I want to just rally more people to vote, more people to get engaged, more people to care. Seeing a youth voice in the city … is just a great addition to city politics and creating a better democracy when moving policy forward in a way that’s more reflective of our city.” 

MacDougall’s campaign kickoff followed after Basil Langevin, another UVic student, announced his running for Saanich Council and CRD in March. Voters will cast their ballots on Oct. 15, 2022.