Trained mediator joins Greens to run for office in Nanaimo-North Cowichan

Lia Versaevel wants to see Vancouver Island painted green after the next provincial election in May.

Lia Versaevel wants to see Vancouver Island painted green after the next provincial election in May.

Versaevel, who has an extensive resume in community activities and occupations, has thrown her hat in the ring as the candidate for the Green Party in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding.

It’s her first run at politics, but she feels she and her party have a lot to offer in the riding.

“I think that after 40 years of working for the community in a number of capacities, I have the energy, reliability and the determination to effectively represent the people of Nanaimo-North Cowichan,” Versaevel said.

“I’m involved in the community and listen to the people. Many in the riding are tired of professional politicians who just sit in their offices in Victoria, and are looking for someone they can relate and talk to, and I believe that I’m that person.”

After 27 years with the Attorney General’s office as a correctional officer, peace officer, probation officer and family justice counsellor, Versaevel moved to Nevada in 2004 to continue to work in family mediation and later as a teacher and in security work.

She returned to Vancouver Island in 2013.

As the owner of the business “Accord”, Versaevel continues to offer her professional experience in conflict resolution, while serving as president of Family Mediation Canada.

Versaevel completed two degrees at the University of Victoria and then an MA in Conflict Analysis and Management at Royal Roads University in 2007.

She is currently a member of the St. Michael’s and All Angels parish in Chemainus, a board member of the Chemainus Residents’ Association, vice president of Ladysmith’s Lions Club, a board member of the UVIC Alumni Association, a member of the Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association and of the BC Wildlife Federation.

As to why she has chosen to run for the Green Party, Versaevel said the believes in the party’s system of values and its stand on social justice.

“I’m concerned that issues around affordable housing, people with disabilities, seniors and children have fallen to the bottom of the political agenda, and the Green Party is the best party to deal with them,” she said.

“Our leader [Andrew Weaver] has also put a bold stamp on the party by not accepting corporate donations or union money to run the organization and that’s something I firmly believe in. I think that this riding and all of Vancouver Island can be the greenest place on earth.”