BC Green Party leadership contest resumes after COVID-19 forced suspension

BC Green Party leadership contest resumes after COVID-19 forced suspension
File photo/CHEK
Sonia Furstenau announces her candidacy for the B.C. Greens leadership on Jan. 27, 2020.

The BC Green Party is resuming its leadership contest after it was suspended 0n March 27 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sat Harwood, chair of the provincial council, announced Monday that registered candidates may resume campaigning immediately.

New candidate applications are being accepted from June 26 to July 27 and voting will take place Sept. 5 to 13.

The results of the leadership contest will be announced on Sept. 14.

“The entire world has faced a harrowing pandemic that is not yet over,” Harwood said in a statement.

“But we expect some reprieve over the summer, and so, with caution and safety being our top priority, we will complete our leadership contest by mid-September.”

There are currently only two candidates registered: Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau and former Powell River-Sunshine Coast candidate Kim Darwin.

Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, is currently serving as the interim leader. He was elected interim leader in December 2019 following the resignation of Andrew Weaver.

“We are in unique and unprecedented times; we must continue to be adaptable to a changing world, while pushing the government for more progressive action,”  Olsen said in a statement.

“This leadership contest is no longer just an opportunity to renew our party. It is an opportunity to renew our province and world. Bold, innovative leadership is badly needed, and I am certain that our next leader will rise to this challenge.”

Both Furstenau and Darwin put out statements after Monday’s announcement.

“There is more interest in the BC Green Party right now than at any point in our history. We’ve been right on the climate for 30 years, and we’re right now. In fact, the time for us is precisely right now,” Darwin said in her statement.

“I’m asking BC Green members and supporters to let me do the heavy lifting to gather the team of MLA candidates we’ll take into the next election. This will give our MLAs increased capacity to implement our policies and platform into BC legislation. The quality and quantity of candidates that I am already working on to bring to the next BC election will be an absolute game-changer for BC politics.”

Furstenau said she was excited to “continue speaking with members, supporters and newcomers about the future of the BC Green Party.”

“As B.C. moves towards recovery from COVID-19, we need an equitable, sustainable renewal to make our province stronger. We need fresh ideas and the political courage to implement them. The B.C. Greens are changing the political conversation in our province. Because of our leadership, issues like serious climate action, basic income and the development of genuine progress indicators are being worked on in government,”  she said.

“I am excited to keep pushing for new big ideas in my campaign, and I will be releasing new policies as part of my leadership platform shortly.”

Due to the pandemic, there is a shortened summer timeline, lowered candidate fees and the number of official debates has been reduced to one. A full list of updated leadership rules can be found here. 


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