|Member of Parliament for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca|
June 2, 2011
|Preceded by||Keith Martin|
|NDP Critic on LGBTT Issues|
June 9, 2011
|Preceded by||Bill Siksay|
|NDP Critic on Public Safety|
April 19, 2012
|Preceded by||Jasbir Sandhu|
August 27, 1951 |
Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.
|Political party||New Democratic Party|
|Residence||Esquimalt, British Columbia|
|Occupation||criminologist, college instructor|
Randall C. Garrison (born August 27, 1951) is a Canadian politician and Member of Parliament in the 41st Parliament. He was elected to the House of Commons in the 2011 federal election. He represents the electoral district of Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca and is a member of the New Democratic Party. He serves as the NDP critic for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and transsexual issues, succeeding former MP Bill Siksay, and as NDP critic for public safety. In the 41st Parliament he has introduced three private member bills: An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity) which reached the Senate, and An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (golfing expenses) and the Civil Marriage of Non-residents Act both of which only received first reading. A former criminology and political science instructor at Camosun College, Garrison is openly gay and lives in Esquimalt, British Columbia, with his partner, Teddy Pardede.
Garrison previously stood for election in the 2004 and 2006 federal elections, both times as the NDP candidate in the Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca riding and both times narrowly losing to incumbent MP Keith Martin. He lived in Vancouver for a short time, during which he was nominated to be the NDP candidate in the Vancouver Centre riding during the 2008 federal election before dropping out for "personal and professional reasons". After moving back to Esquimalt he was elected to the Esquimalt City Council for a three-year term starting in November 2008.
Garrison has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations as well as the Esquimalt Police Board. He is also an international human rights activist. He has worked as a policing researcher in Afghanistan with Amnesty International, on a Christian-Muslim peace building project in Indonesia for the International Catholic Migration Commission, and as co-coordinator of IFET, an international non-government human rights observer mission for the East Timor independence referendum in 1999. In May 2010, Garrison served as an international observer with the People's International Observers Mission (PIOM) in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao for the national elections in the Philippines.
Born in Nebraska, Randall Garrison eventually moved to Canada in 1973. He spent two years living in Yellowknife, working for the government recording vital statistics. He moved to British Columbia where, at the age of 26, Garrison graduated from the University of British Columbia with a masters degree specializing in political science. He moved to Victoria where he worked within the B.C. provincial government as a public policy researcher and director. By the 1990s, and until he was elected as a Member of Parliament, he taught at Camosun College, in criminal justice, political science, and pacific rim studies. In 1990, as a member of the Victoria Civic Electors, Garrison ran for Victoria City Council, but did not win a seat. At the time he was president of the Vic West Community Association and executive director of the South Pacific People's Foundation of Canada. In 1999, Garrison helped coordinate the International Federation for East Timor who acted as neutral election observer during the East Timorese independence referendum. Garrison's other work overseas included peace-building between religious groups in Indonesia and investigating human rights issues in Afghanistan. Back in Canada, Garrison became a member of the Victoria and Esquimalt police board. During this time, Garrison also helped co-found the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre.
In the 2004 federal election, the 53-year old Garrison became the New Democratic Party candidate in the Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca riding. The election was seen as a three-way race between Garrison, the Liberal Party incumbent Keith Martin and Conservative Party candidate and former Martin aide John Koury. Garrison placed second, 4.6% behind Martin who was re-elected to a fourth term. A year-and-a-half later, with another federal election expected soon, Garrison was acclaimed the NDP candidate, and again faced Martin, but this time Conservative challenger was lawyer Troy DeSouza. This January 2006 election was again considered a toss-up and as a result CBC Radio One's Cross Country Checkup broadcast a show highlighting the riding and the candidates. However, Garrison again lost to Martin, this time by 3.6%. Subsequently, Garrison and his partner moved to Vancouver's West End where, in January 2007, he was acclaimed the NDP candidate in the Vancouver Centre riding for an expected election. The next election did not occur until October 2008 and by that time Garrison had moved back to Esquimalt and withdrew from the Vancouver Centre election.
Instead Garrison stood in the November 2008 local government election where he won a seat on the Esquimalt municipal council. On local issues Garrison was critical of police budget request increases of 10% in 2009 and 5% in 2010 and argued that Esquimalt's merger of its police force with the Victoria Police Department was not producing the benefits that were promised and costing the municipality more than it should. The council adopted a resolution, proposed by Garrison to fund the full budget requests of the police minus one dollar. Garrison lobbied to get the municipality to adopt a living wage policy. At the time a living wage in Greater Victoria was calculated to be $17.31 per hour for a full-time worker. The council adopted the proposal in prinicple, but ultimately approved a policy that only applied to limit situations.
In January 2011, as the NDP were preparing for a potential up-coming election, Garrison was again acclaimed as their candidate in the Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca riding. With the Liberal Keith Martin no longer seeking re-election, the riding was once again seen as a potential win for the NDP, Liberals and Conservatives. The election came in the spring 2011 and other candidates included home-maker Shaunna Salsman for the Green Party, Canadian Action Party leader Christopher Porter and independent Louis Lesosky, as well as Langford councillor Lillian Szpak for the Liberal Party. Garrison campaigned on supporting development of light rail and universal child care. He was endorsed by the Conservation Voters of British Columbia. The Conservative Party candidate, Troy DeSouza, who had come in second to Martin in the 2008 election and third to Martin and Garrison in the 2006 election, was supported this time by party leader and prime-minister, Stephen Harper, who visited the riding early in the election campaign. However, DeSouza campaigned heavily on attracting federal funding for a highway overpass between Victoria and Colwood, but was compromised by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who refused to make a commitment to the project. Still, late in the election, The Globe and Mail estimated the riding was "Leaning Conservative". Regardless, due to rising NDP support nationwide and significant votes from Saanich and Esquimalt, Garrison won the riding over DeSouza by 0.6% but the Conservative Party had won a majority government, with the NDP forming the official opposition.
As the 41st Parliament opened, Garrison was appointed to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and party leader Jack Layton appointed Garrison as the NDP critic on LGBT issues. Openly gay himself, Garrison had participated in LGBT culture previously. In Ottawa, on Spirit Day, he spoke at a remembrance ceremony for a teenager who had committed suicide due to bullying concerning his sexual orientation. When Conservative Party MPs made an 'It Gets Better' video in response to the bullied teenager, a video which received independent criticism regarding its hypocrisy (the MPs had previously voted against same-sex marriage legislation) Garrison explained that, while well-intention, they were just repeating a slogan and did not understand the concept.
By September 2011, Garrison introduced a piece of legislation, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression) (Bill C-279) which include gender identity and gender expression amongst the characteristics protected from discrimination and eligible to be considered in sentencing crimes motivated by hate. The private member's bill had previously been introduced by Bill Siksay in the 38th, 39th and 40th Parliaments, reaching the Senate in February 2011, before dying once the election was called in March. The bill was once again re-introduced as Bill C-276 in the 41st Parliament, unexpectedly by Liberal Hedy Fry two days before Garrison was going to re-introduce it. Regardless, Garrison re-introduced it again, but with a small amendment concerning the coming into force date, as Bill C-279. The bill was amended by the House of Commons to remove the term 'gender expression' and sent to the Senate in March 2013.
After election, fellow British Columbian NDP MP Jean Crowder was appointed his political mentor. While Garrison and Crowder shared an office in Ottawa, Garrison opened his constituency office in View Royal. On local issues, Garrison joined with fellow NDP MP Denise Savoie, provincial Member of the Legislative Assembly Rob Fleming, and local councillors, and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce to advocate for federal and provincial funds to develop a light rail transportation system from Victoria to Langford, a system which had already had commitment from Victoria Regional Transit Commission, the Capital Regional District and the BC Transit.
During the New Democratic Party leadership election, 2012, following the death of Jack Layton, Garrison supported Peggy Nash, saying she "embodies the NDP values of social justice, environmental sustainability and prosperity for all". Following Nash's defeat on the second ballot of the contest, he supported Thomas Mulcair, the eventual winner. Mulcair added public safety to Garrison's critic duties.
Garrison's second private member bill, which he introduced in February 16, 2012, was An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (golfing expenses) (Bill C-397). The bill proposed to reverse a 1971 tax reform which removed the ability of business people to make tax deductions for entertaining clients at a golf course. Though he was described as a "non-golfer" Garrison saw the bill as correcting an unfair tax policy that applies other forms of entertainment but not golf.
Garrison's third private member bill was An Act to amend the Civil Marriage Act (divorce and corollary relief) (Bill C-435). He introduced the bill in June 2012 as a response to the February 2012 Minister of Justice Bill C-32, Civil Marriage of Non-residents Act, which enabled couples married in Canada to request a divorce even if their place of residence does not recognize their marriage. Garrison's bill included the contents of Bill C-32 plus allows the court to deal with matters of child custody. As of April 2013, neither bill reached the second reading stage.
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- Randall Garrison – Parliament of Canada biography
- Randall Garrison - House of Commons biography
- Randall Garrison - New Democratic Member of Parliament (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca)