Green Party and Furstenau have great policies
Do you want to know why I voted for Sonia Furstenau in this election? In the spring of 2017, I was invited by a friend, a local climate scientist, to a gathering at his home to meet the Green Party candidate. I had heard of Sonia Furstenau over the previous few years in her fight for the Shawnigan Lake watershed but did not know much else about her. I trusted my friend’s conviction to the environment, so I was willing to go and “have a listen”.
The woman I met there was confident, yet very approachable. She capably answered my somewhat pointed questions about her platform and beliefs. At this time, I was still a member of the NDP. Had been for years. I was not sure about the Greens and thought they might be a one-trick pony, strong on the environment but lacking in other areas of focus.
What I have observed in over 50 years of voting, is that the party system has led to gridlock in our governments. What Sonia did in that short visit was change my heart and mind from 50 years of partisan politics to the idea that I could get to know the person who was running for office, and her values, instead of voting “strategically” often to oppose some party that I really didn’t like.
During this visit, Sonia described her way of getting things done as empowering others and consensus seeking, an idea that sat well with my beliefs. I discovered that the Green Party has no “whip”, the person in charge of party discipline to ensure that the maximum number of party members vote in the way the party wants. Even better! This led me to later investigate the Green Party’s platform and realize I could support this party wholeheartedly.
Since that visit in 2017, I have learned to love and respect this amazing woman for her commitment to the environment: her awareness of the need to protect old growth forests; recognizing the need to modernize the forestry industry, not just to help the forests, but the communities themselves; her arguments against massively expanding the fossil fuel industry in the midst of a climate crisis.
Her concern for children has led her to lobby for social workers in child protection, who may not be held to account for unethical practices, to register with the B.C. College of Social Workers so that there is professional accountability.
She continues to address poverty and inequality, the homeless problem, and the ongoing opioid crisis in Cowichan. She was part of a group which invited Judy Darcy, minister of Mental Health and Addictions to visit Cowichan and see for herself the issues here around homelessness and addiction. Her constituency office was always open to the many marginalized people who live on the street. They came for help in applying for PWD (Persons with Disabilities) Allowance, help with eviction notices, and sometimes just to talk to a person who would actually listen.
In the 2020 budget speeches in the Legislature she said that “The first pillar of a resilient community is economic security”. She believes that we need to be investing in technologies and companies that are part of the solution to climate change not propping up the type of industries that destroy our environment.
Sonia was only named the party’s leader one week before the election was called. She is only beginning to show us what she can do. Let’s give her a chance to really make a difference. Let’s vote for Sonia so that we can benefit from all she has to give our community.