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'Absolute battle' to get sewage treatment: NDP deputy leader

Nov 23 2012

The deputy leader of the NDP was in Victoria Thursday to support the party's candidate in the Victoria byelection.

"I'm here to help [Rankin] out on the campaign and ensure he gets to sit beside me in the House of Commons," Megan Leslie said from Rankin's campaign office.

Leslie, a Halifax MP and NDP environment critic, echoed Rankin's call for local sewage treatment.

Halifax used to discharge its sewage into the ocean, as Victoria does now, but a sewage treatment plant was built a few years ago, she said.

"It's something we're pretty proud of," Leslie said. "It was an absolute battle to get it done, [but] not with the community - the community was in full support."

Rankin is keen to have a similar plant built here.

"My opponents have taken the position that they want to dump sewage into the ocean, and I do not," said Rankin, an environmental lawyer for 25 years.

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Victoria both support a sewage treatment plant, he noted.

"A lot of people have the understanding that we need to get on with it," Rankin said.

The federal government has pledged a third of the funding for the proposed $783-million secondary sewage treatment plant.

New federal wastewater regulations, passed this year, require treatment in the region by 2020.

The province, which has also ordered sewage treatment, has promised up to $248 million.

Rankin opposes the proposed Enbridge pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to Kitimat. He pointed to the grounding this week of a cargo ship in Prince Rupert harbour as "a clear indication, if ever there was one, of the folly of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project and pipeline."

"The inevitability of a spill seems obvious to all," Rankin said. "That's one of the reasons that we are so united as a party and I have taken such a strong position personally in opposition to this project."

Rankin is one of six candidates vying to replace NDP MP Denise Savoie, who retired Aug. 31 citing health reasons. Voting takes place on Monday.

BYELECTION CANDIDATES

Six candidates are vying for the federal seat for Victoria vacated by NDP MP Denise Savoie:

? Donald Galloway, Green party

? Dale Gann, Conservative party

? Art Lowe, Libertarian party

? Philip G. Ney, Christian Heritage party

? Murray Rankin, NDP

? Paul Summerville, Liberal party Voters go the polls on Monday.

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