Interviews with the leaders: McGuigan insists he’s really ahead among voters

Stephen Hammond says his front-running position in The Record mayoral poll is not unexpected.

But Bruce McGuigan disputes the accuracy of the poll, insisting he’s really leading in voter preference. Among the people he’s met on the doorstep, “I’d say 50 to 60% are for me, about 10% for Lisa, slightly higher for Stephen.”

Hammond holds a substantial lead in the poll of eight mayoral candidates completed today on The Record’s home page. He has 268 votes, compared with Mayor Lisa Helps at 101 and McGuigan at 53.

Helps said she’s getting a different message from the voters. “We’ve knocked on thousands of doors. What I’m hearing out there is positive support for the vision of the city that we’re putting forward–affordability, well-being, prosperity and sustainability.

“I take the online survey with a grain of salt and we’ll see on Oct. 20 what the people of Victoria think.”

Hammond cautions that the poll is not a scientific exercise, but said the result “doesn’t surprise me. I’ve never seen this kind of anger before.”

He said the discontent is stoked by council’s failure to listen to views expressed by residents.

“The mayor and council just forge ahead. The whole notion of listening to people is just foreign to them.”

Both Hammond and McGuigan pointed to the city’s bike lane policy as a major factor in the push for change at city hall.

“Bike lanes are a great idea,” said McGuigan, “but they shouldn’t disrupt other modes of transportation. They could have been built on other streets that have less traffic.

Voters are unhappy with the lack of consultation and the design of the separated bike lanes on Pandora and Fort, Hammond said.

The other top issues on people’s minds, he said, are the removal of the John A. Macdonald statue from the steps at city hall and the lack of affordable housing in Victoria.

McGuigan has also been hearing about the homeless issue. He says his experience in managing larger organizations gives him more credibility as a mayor than Hammond, who operates his own consulting business.