Mark Leiren-Young

  • Livable Cities and the Problem with Scrapping Parking Minimums

    So let’s talk about parking - and why I think it’s important to provide it.
    Livable Victoria is a great group and I love the work they’re doing. While I’m sorry I didn’t make their list of recommended candidates, if you read all the survey results it appears the reason I didn’t make the cut is that I answered “disagree” to the following question: "Removing minimum parking requirements for new housing.”
    I thought it was worth sharing the reason I gave - and will continue to give - regarding why I disagree with that here.
    Read more

  • What do you consider Saanich's most valuable natural assets?

    Natural Assets Management starts from the premise that our natural resources - water, forests, soil, wildlife - should be assigned a value the same way we place a value on highways, stop signs and trucks.

    Read more

  • Hey, Hippie, What's With the Long Hair?

    For about 15 years I was half of the musical comedy duo, Local Anxiety. We toured Canada, did a lot of stuff for CBC and NPR and specialized in political comedy with a focus on eco—comedy. 
    Our shtick: my comedy partner, Kevin Crofton played a corporate Pattison groupie who never met a forest he didn’t want to clear-cut.
    I played the ultimate tree hugger who literally worshipped at the altar of David Suzuki. 
    To look our parts we agreed early on… Kevin (who actually was much more of a hippie in real-life - he war raised on Salt Spring, had a guru and had lived on ashram) would cut his hair as short as he could stand it. And he’d wear suits on stage.
    I’d grow my hair as long as I could stand it (and/or my wife would let me) and bounce around on stage in jeans and tie-dyed shirts and bare feet.
    Though Kevin and I rarely play together any more, I started getting the occasional acting gig and the roles for long-haired older guy are so much more fun the the roles for someone my age with short-hair or a shaved head. If you have Netflix and want to see me in actor-mode you can check out the last episode of Season 1 of ReBoot: The Guardian Code.
    When I said I was running for Council, I had a few people ask if I’d “clean up” for the campaign.
    It wasn’t really an option. I’ve been working on a documentary about the endangered southern resident orcas for the last few years. I’m occasionally on camera as the narrator and (because of the pandemic) we still have a few more scenes to shoot.
    It’s tough enough to cut around the fact that my beard went grey during lockdown without me suddenly showing up on screen with an all new look.
    After that… 
    I’ve always said that if I start to look like Kim Mitchell it’s all going - though not til the documentary is wrapped. 
    So I guess the future of my hair depends on whether council’s stressful enough that more of it starts to vanish like Kevin's...

  • Changing Lanes and Changing Lives

    So much of my life - and so many of my values - are connected to my time as a rookie reporter in the Cariboo-Chilcotin.

    Watching one of the 2018 Saanich all-candidates debates I had a full-on flashback to a school board meeting I covered a long time ago in Williams Lake, BC and thought... yeah... this is why local governments are vital. They can save lives. They change lives.

    Sharing a chapter from Never Shoot a Stampede Queen.


  • Endorsements

    "Mark is creative, collaborative, innovative, pragmatic and understands how to work across partisan divides to advance inclusive policy for our community."

    -Andrew Weaver, Climate scientist, former leader of BC Green Party, Saanich resident


    “Mark is running in Saanich. He’s always had a suspicious sparkle in his eyes. Mark loves animals, the orcas' best friend, his exhibit on orcas at the B.C. Museum is ready to travel the world. And come to think of it, Mark loves people, too. His books and plays and songs and documentaries are award winning and good and funny, too. Is he an artist or an environmentalist? Both. Send him a few dollars, quick, before he changes his mind.”

    -Howie Siegel, Empresario 


    "Mark has written about and worked on environmental issues for decades and has a strong understanding of to protect our air, our water and our climate. He also has a wonderful gift of building relationships and dialogue with humour and authenticity."

    - Tzeporah Berman, International Program Director Stand.Earth


    "I have known Mark for many years as a journalist, author, dramatist and filmmaker.  His decision to run for Saanich Council and the CRD is a reflection of his dedication to community, the environment and democracy. Saanich will be well-served by his voice and participation on Council."

    -Sid Tafler, Writer


    "Not only will Mark bring energy and vision to Saanich Council and CRD, he’ll be a collaborative, constructive presence."

    -Catherine Novak, Communications professional, paddler, Saanich resident


    "I’ve known Mark for more than 30 years. He’s disciplined, business minded and has a ferocious work ethic. These qualities will make him an outstanding member of Saanich Council."

     -Ian Ferguson, Author, “The Survival Guide to British Columbia.”


    "Mark has all the qualities to be a fantastic councillor. He relentlessly researches and makes decisions based on the facts. He is positive by nature— something we need in these dark times. Mark will bring a passion and vision for the future that Saanich needs."

    -Bernard Von Schulmann, BC (and Saanich) commentator and historian


    "If there is anybody on this coast that has done more to tell the stories of the Orcas, I don’t know who it is. Mark Leiren Young has written books, made films and museum exhibitions about the southern resident orcas. I know he is acting in the best interest of them and for that reason, he’s acting in your best Interests. One planet, one eco system."
    - Canadian Orca Rescue Society


    "A vote for Mark is a vote for forward-thinking, thoughtfulness, vision, compassion, and hard work."

    -Leanne Allen, Producer, Small Army Productions


    "I have worked with Mark for the past two and a half years in which time I have gotten to know him as a kind, upbeat, passionate person who cares very deeply for the environment and his community and I’m looking forward to voting for him."

    -Katie Brown, Artist and Web Designer


    “I confidently recommend Mark Leiren-Young as a Saanich council member. After dedicating years of his life to our environment and many endangered animals, Mark seeks to serve the people of the community. His humble demeanor is why I trust him to better the municipality of Saanich.”

    -Jag GordayaM.Ed. Coaching Studies, University of Victoria (2016), Saanich resident


    "Mark works tirelessly for his community and dedicates himself to serving others. I have great respect for his service to the environment and the arts. I've worked with him as an artist and teacher, and am confident that he will bring passion, intelligence, a strong moral compass, and a tremendous work ethic to Council."

    -Amanda Lisman, Actor, Saanich Resident


    "I am throwing my enthusiastic support behind Mark Leiren-Young for Saanich City Council. I have known Mark for 38 years, and during that time, I have witnessed his unwavering commitment to finding ways to bring community together. His capacity for listening and understanding points of view make him an ideal spokesperson for the District. Mark’s successful careers as writer and teacher are evidence of his capacity for empathy. This trait is all too often limited in political discourse and action. I know that Mark, as a member of our City Council will bring energy and receptiveness to our community."

    -Clayton Jevne, Artistic Director/General Manager of Theatre Inconnu, Instructor at the University of Victoria, Proud Saanich resident

  • Media coverage

    Recent media coverage


    Jack Knox: In a Where's Waldo field, civic election campaigns begin now Times-Colonist


    Saanich orca activist publishes children’s book Saanich News


    Dr. Robert Hogg and Mark Leiren-Young: Time to share the planet - Georgia Straight


    Mark Leiren-Young - Journalist, podcaster and self-proclaimed Orcaholic The Public Circle w/ Adam Olsen 



    For Mark's conversations about orcas, oceans, eco-ethics and the environment with Carl Safina, Marc Bekoff, Alexandra Morton, Lori Marino, Paul Watson, Peter Wohhleben, Elizabeth May, Frans de Waal and more, please visit the Skaana podcast at iTunes, Spotify or Skaana

  • The Colbert Questionnaire

    The Colbert Questionnaire 

    "15 questions to cover the full spectrum of human experience"

    Best sandwich?

    Grilled cheese. Old cheddar. Multigrain. Really melty with the bread just starting to burn. For most of my life it was a toss up between lox on a toasted bagel or a tuna melt - but that was before I started writing about whales and sharks and learning more about marine life and oceans. 

    What's one thing you own that you really should throw out?

    Souvenir t-shirts from shows I've done and shows I've seen - but that's not gonna happen because, as Marie Kondo would say, they still spark joy.

    What is the scariest animal?

    Humans. No contest.

    Apples or oranges?

    Mandarin oranges in the winter.

    Have you ever asked someone for their autograph?

    Yep. Mostly Vancouver Canucks. Many many many Canucks. When I was a kid my mom would wait patiently while my brother and I hung out at locker rooms waiting for hockey players to sign our programs. If we'd been less obsessed with the Canucks I'd have the signatures of a lot of hockey legends - but we rarely waited for visitors, so instead I have a lot of signatures from Canucks alumni. As an adult... authors... lots of authors. I still love getting books signed. And I still kick myself for not asking Kurt Vonnegut to sign one of his books when I was lucky enough to get to interview him.

    What do you think happens when we die?

    We die? Uh oh... 

    Favorite action movie?

    Die Hard. I remember reading a review by someone who hated Bruce Willis who said the movie was so well-built that Pee Wee Herman could have played John McClane and it'd still be the best action movie ever. 

    Favorite smell?

    The ocean. From a boat. 

    Least favorite smell?

    Smoggy air. There are grosser smells, but smog is gross and depressing.

    Exercise: worth it?

    Exercise no. Yoga yes. Namaste, eh.

    Flat or sparkling?

    Always sparkling.

    Most used app on your phone?

    Notes. Instapaper. Camera. WazeScrabble. Anyone wanna play?

    You get one song to listen to for the rest of your life: what is it?

    Hallelujah. Which feels like cheating - because I think you could listen to a different cover version every day for a decade.

    What number am I thinking of?


    Describe the rest of your life in 5 words?

    A hell of a ride.

  • Saanich Municipal Election 2022

    Candidates for Saanich Council - 2022


    The list is alphabetical - by first name. 


    Art Pollard: Facebook Twitter: @art4saanich

    Email: [email protected] 


    Basil LangevinWebsite Twitter @BasilLangevin 

    Email: [email protected] 


    Bianca Chu: Website Twitter@bianca_chu


    Colin Plant: Facebook Instagram Twitter @ColinPlant2022 

    Email: [email protected] 


    Gregory Matte: Facebook Twitter @GregMatte1 


    Jordan MacDougall: Website Facebook Instagram Twitter @Jordan4Saanich 

    Email: [email protected] 


    Jordan Reichert: Website Facebook Twitter @Vote_Reichert 

    Email: [email protected]


    Judy Brownoff: Twitter @Judy_Brownoff


    Karen Harper: Website Twitter @KarenInSaanich


    Kathleen Burton: Website Instagram Twitter: @kathelburt

    Email: [email protected]


    Leslie Miller-Brooks: Email: [email protected]


    Mark Leiren-Young: Website Facebook Instagram Twitter: @leirenyoung 

    Email: [email protected] 


    Mark Neufeld Facebook Twitter @markvneufeld


    Mena Westhaver: Website Facebook Instagram Twitter @Westhavers4Kids

    Email: [email protected]


    Nathalie Chambers: Website Facebook Twitter @SpiritofSaanich 

    Email: [email protected] 


    Rishi Sharma: Website LinkedIn Twitter: @Rishi_ss 

    Email: [email protected] 


    Sasha Izard: Website 

    Email: [email protected]


    Susan Brice: Website Instagram Twitter: @Susan_Brice 

    Email: [email protected] 


    Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff: Website Facebook Instagram TikTok Twitter: @TealePB  

    Email [email protected]


    Trevor Barry: Website Instagram YouTube Twitter: @Trevor4saanich 

    Email: [email protected]


    Vernon Lord: Website Twitter: @GoVern2018


    Zac DeVries: Facebook Twitter: @zacdevries Instagram 

    Email: [email protected] 



    Candidates for Mayor of Saanich


    Dean Murdock: Website Facebook Instagram Twitter: @Dean_Murdock 

    email: [email protected]


    Fred Haynes: Website Facebook Instagram Twitter: @HaynesSaanich 

    Email [email protected] 


    This is intended to be a complete list of all candidates for Saanich Council - along with their websites, official social media listings, Twitter handles and any emails (if the candidates are sharing those publicly on their official campaign sites).

    The list is alphabetical - by first name. 

    If any information here is missing or incorrect and/or any links aren't working - please contact us to correct/update. 

    Registering to vote

    (including voting by mail)
    When and where to vote


    General Voting Day - Saturday, October 15, 2022 -
    8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Advance Voting Opportunities: Oct. 5, 11 & 12

    Voting Locations

    Advance Voting Opportunities


    Oct. 5

    8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Saanich Municipal Hall

    770 Vernon Avenue

    8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Greek Community Hall

    4648 Elk Lake Drive


    Oct. 11

    8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Greek Community Hall

    4648 Elk Lake Drive

    8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    University of Victoria

    Student Union Bldg,
    Michele Pujold Room

    3800 Finnerty Road


    Oct. 12 

    8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Saanich Municipal Hall

    770 Vernon Avenue

    8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Gordon Head Recreation Centre

    4100 Lambrick Park Way

    General Voting Day - Saturday, October 15, 2022 -
    8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Campus View Elementary School 3900 Gordon Head Road
    Cedar Hill Middle School 3910 Cedar Hill Road
    Cedar Hill Recreation Centre 3220 Cedar Hill Road
    Cloverdale Traditional School 3427 Quadra Street
    Cordova Bay Elementary School 5238 Cordova Bay Road
    Doncaster Elementary School 1525 Rowan Street
    Frank Hobbs Elementary School 3875 Haro Road
    Glanford Middle School 4140 Glanford Avenue
    Gordon Head Recreation Centre 4100 Lambrick Park Way
    G. R. Pearkes Recreation Centre 3100 Tillicum Road
    Hillcrest Elementary School 4421 Greentree Terrace
    Lansdowne Middle School 1765 Lansdowne Road
    Lochside Elementary School 1145 Royal Oak Drive
    Prospect Lake Elementary School 321 Prospect Lake Road
    Reynolds Secondary School 3963 Borden Street
    Saanich Commonwealth Place 4636 Elk Lake Drive
    Spectrum Community School 957 Burnside Road West

    The above information re: locations and dates is from: 


    Photo of Saanich Municipal Hall: Michal Klajban