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Debra Toporowski takes NDP nomination in Cowichan Valley by acclamation

Two members of Cowichan Tribes vie for same provincial riding

Debra Toporowski — an elected councillor for both North Cowichan and Cowichan Tribes — Saturday won by acclamation the NDP nomination for the riding of Cowichan Valley in the next provincial election.

That means two members of Cowichan Tribes are among four competing for the Cowichan Valley seat.


BC United has nominated tribes member Jon Coleman, owner of Jon-Co Contracting, as its candidate. Coleman made the news in December 2022 after protesting a provincial policy favouring union workers on the new Cowichan District Hospital.

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Representing the Green Party in this election is Cammy Lockwood, an egg and organic vegetable farmer who takes a special interest in the effects of climate change.

Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau, who has represented Cowichan Valley since 2017, is running in the riding of Victoria-Beacon Hill next election.


BC Conservative candidate John Koury placed second behind Rob Douglas in the mayoral race in North Cowichan in 2022. Koury also lost in a bid for North Cowichan council in 2018 and in a mayoral bid in 2014. He was elected to North Cowichan council in 2008 and 2011.

Toporowski was first elected to North Cowichan council in 2018 and again in 2022. She currently serves as acting mayor. She lost her seat on Cowichan Tribes council in 2022, but was elected again in 2024 to a four-year term.

Toporowski told she will seek a leave of absence from North Cowichan council once the writ for the provincial election is officially issued.

Typically, municipal councillors who are elected as MLAs resign their council seats, prompting a byelection.

Mayor Rob Douglas, who ran for the NDP in the last provincial election, said he considered but decided against seeking the NDP nomination this time.

"While it would have been a great opportunity to serve at a provincial level, I am committed to continuing to work on behalf of North Cowichan residents as mayor,” he said. "We have a lot of exciting projects underway at the municipality right now, and I want to continue to be part of this work…."

He described Toporowski as a hard worker with deep roots in the community who brings an important perspective to political discussions.

The provincial election is slated for October 19.

(Photos: Debra Toporowski, Jon Coleman, Cammy Lockwood, John Koury.)

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