Sonia Furstenau

Sonia Furstenau column: MLA vows to keep up the fight

COVID-19 continues to strain our communities

By Sonia Furstenau

COVID-19 continues to strain our communities, highlighting the gaps in services and supports that lead people to fall through the cracks. While this pandemic has certainly showcased these gaps, it is an important time for different levels of government to acknowledge and take action to ensure that we emerge as a more resilient, more equitable province on the other side of this crisis.

Here in Cowichan, we are moving forward with a new hospital, and new high school. We also need urgent investments in emergency and affordable housing, additional supports for small businesses, and a robust plan to tackle both the climate and opioid crises—among other things.

In short, there is a lot of work to be done – but we need to also recognize how much is underway, driven by committed and hardworking people in our community.

Throughout this challenging year, the Cowichan Valley community has displayed incredible resiliency. While campaigning in the recent provincial election, I was repeatedly inspired by the generous nature of the people who live here and have chosen to build their lives in this community.

At the Duncan Farmers Market, I watched members of our community interact, exchange ideas, and offer assistance to those who needed it. The youngest members of our society could be found helping some of the oldest, and vice-versa. The market is always a place where this impressive regard for collective wellbeing can be seen.

I am honoured to be returning to the BC Legislature to resume the important work that we started in 2017. My deepest gratitude lies with all of those who chose to support me in the recent election. Without you, and your belief in me, none of this could have happened. But regardless of whose name you marked on your ballot in October, or whose sign you had on your lawn, I am ready to work for you. As MLA, I am here to support our entire community to navigate and advocate on provincial matters. I am a firm believer in collaborative politics and am convinced that working together leads to the best outcomes for our communities and provinces.

We are facing an unprecedented crisis with COVID-19. Meanwhile, other issues have plagued our society for years prior to this pandemic, and will only continue to do so unless we choose to reflect on our priorities and make this rare moment in history a transformative one.

Homelessness, climate change, systemic racism, and issues related to the underfunding of our education system and mental health supports will not disappear until we come together, collectively, and resolve them. This is my commitment to you, to facilitate and advance that collaborative process for the betterment of the Cowichan Valley. It can at times appear challenging, to recognize the many crises and challenges we face. But I remain optimistic that better outcomes are possible, and the effort that so many put into building those outcomes tells me that others feel the same. The BC Greens embrace a type of politics that we need now more than ever; politics that rejects adversarial approaches and embraces compassion, collaboration, and evidence as the best tools for effective decision-making.

I will continue to be guided by these principles in my continued work as MLA for Cowichan Valley and Leader of the BC Green Party.

•••

Our constituency office has changed locations. My staff and I are still in the process of moving and getting organized, but we will be ready to re-open soon. I will be sharing more information about this in the coming weeks. For the most current updates, you can visit my Facebook page or website — soniafurstenaumla.ca. If you need to reach me, you can do so through my email Sonia.Furstenau.MLA@leg.bc.ca.

Column

Just Posted

Motorcyclists in the hundreds depart from Duncan on a South Island ride in honour of the Kamloops 215. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Ride for the Kamloops 215 takes over Trans-Canada Highway

“My family was in residential schools for three generations. On the day… Continue reading

(The winning Lady of the Lake candidates demonstrate their talents during the annual Opportunity Night, Wednesday, June 8. Mary Batyi, left, does a Highland Dance routine, accompanied by a bagpiper; Jorden Matson, centre, shows people her artwork while telling the crowd what her inspirations are; Amber Bell tells people about competitive swimming, before providing a virtual demonstration.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette, June 15, 2011)
Flashback: Water meters, ‘Porky’, and Lady of the Lake

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Not securing your load could cost you big

An object of any sort falling off of the vehicle in front of you is definitely a surprise

Jared Popma recently streamed a live concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre. (Ashley Daniel Foot photo)
21-year-old jazz artist talks favourite tunes and joys of music theory

Jared Popma recently streamed a concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Vetch cover crop beginning to flower. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Vetch and crimson clover to the rescue of soil fertility

I add dry organic fertilizer as plants use up what is in the soil.

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

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

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read