Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau is the new leader of the B.C. Green Party. (Submitted)

Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau is the new leader of the B.C. Green Party. (Submitted)

Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau wins Green Party race

New leader champions diversity and collaboration between parties

Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau was elected as the B.C. Green Party’s new leader on Monday, Sept. 14.

Furstenau, who has represented the Cowichan Valley in the B.C. Legislature since 2017, became the first person to win a B.C. Green Party leadership race, beating two other contenders in a two-stage vote.

“I am so excited to lead the next generation of the B.C. Greens,” Furstenau said in a statement from the party. “Our caucus has shown that by following evidence and working collaboratively we can achieve tangible outcomes for B.C. communities, and we’re just getting started. I look forward to working with both our new and long-standing supporters to continue to grow our party.”

The party had put its leadership election on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reopening in June, with a three-month campaign followed by an eight-day voting period.

In a ranked ballot, Furstenau topped Cam Brewer 2,197 votes to 1,916 in the first round, while Kim Darwin was eliminated with 513 votes. The second round saw Furstenau beat Brewer 2,428 votes to 2,127.

Furstenau was the only leadership candidate with experience in the legislature.

Furstenau has been serving as House Leader in the B.C. Green Caucus. Prior to being elected as an MLA, she served as an area director for the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

In her acceptance speech on Monday, Furstenau lamented the lack of representation from minorities, including women, in provincial politics across Canada, and suggested that diversity will help in many ways.

“It is disheartening, but it strengthens my belief that to achieve lasting outcomes in good ways, we must increase diversity in who we elect and we must find ways to work across party lines and across jurisdictions,” she said. “The B.C. Greens put principle ahead of politics to collaborate with the other parties, even though we don’t agree with them on everything.”

Furstenau also urged Premier John Horgan to avoid calling a provincial election before it is necessary and called on other parties to follow the Greens’ example and “rise above partisanship” in the interests of the people of B.C.

“To John Horgan, I say, you have a responsibility to govern, not play politics. We have two overlapping health emergencies. We have just spent the last week gasping for our breath because of climate fires, our kids are navigating an entirely new way of being in school, and COVID-19 cases are rising. This is not the time to dissolve government, to leave a province leaderless for over a month in hopes of securing more power for yourself. This is a time when we need our ministers of health and education to be working alongside our public health officer to do all they can to protect the health and well-being of the people of British Columbia.”

Elizabeth May, the Green Party parliamentary leader and one of two sitting Green MPs along with Paul Manly of Nanaimo-Ladysmith, endorsed Furstenau and was pleased to see her win the leadership role.

“Congratulations to members of the Green Party of British Columbia for choosing an experienced and extraordinary leader,” she said in a statment released by the Green Party of Canada.” Thanks to Kim Darwin and Cam Brewer for a spirited race. With John Horgan mulling over a snap election, I am so pleased that the B.C. Greens will have a leader who can take on the B.C. NDP from her place as a leader in the legislature.”

BC legislatureGreen Party

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Cowichan Valley Arts Council is offering courses in drawing May through August 2021. (Submitted)
A&E column: Art is everywhere in the Cowichan Valley

What’s going in the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

The CVRD introduces new app to contact residents during emergencies, a tool that chairman Aaron Stone says will improve communications. (File photo)
CVRD launches new app to spread information during emergencies

Cowichan Alert is a free app that can be downloaded onto smartphones, computers

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

The Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors in July 2021. (Malahat SkyWalk photo)
Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors this July

Highly anticipated attraction will take guests 250m above sea level

FILE PHOTO
Editorial: Time to roll up our sleeves and pitch in

They’re just not quite sure they want to get a vaccine — yet

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read