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BC Green Party leadership: Who will replace Andrew Weaver?

Click to play video 'Andrew Weaver announces plans to step down as leader of the Green Party' Andrew Weaver announces plans to step down as leader of the Green Party
Provincial Green Party leader Andrew Weaver announced that he will not seek re-election as MLA and will be giving up the position of leader of the party – Oct 7, 2019

Andrew Weaver brought the BC Green Party to new heights.

In 2013, he became the first Green to win a seat in the B.C. legislature. In 2017, Weaver was leader and the party grew to three MLAs, holding the balance of power in the new NDP government.

But now Weaver has resigned as leader and MLA Adam Olsen has stepped in as interim leader. The race officially kicked off on Monday.

READ MORE: Adam Olsen named BC Green Party interim leader

The leadership voting will take place from June 15 to 26 and the party will use ranked ballots for three or more candidates, or first-past-the-post for a contest of two. The winner will be announced at a convention in Nanaimo, which will be held June 26 to 28.

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The question is who will run to become the permanent leader of the party. Here are a few possibilities.

Sonia Furstenau

Deputy Leader of the B.C. Green party Sonia Furstenau looks on as B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver speaks to media about the negotiating team in the rose garden on the Legislature grounds in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Deputy Leader of the B.C. Green party Sonia Furstenau looks on as B.C. Green party leader Andrew Weaver speaks to media about the negotiating team in the rose garden on the Legislature grounds in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito.

So far the Cowichan Valley MLA has been publicly non-committal about her plans for leadership. But it looks likely she will decide to jump into the race.

Furstenau has been putting together a leadership team and has already had a planning retreat with staff.

When Olsen decided to become the interim leader, it meant he could no longer run for the permanent leadership. That leaves Furstenau as the only possible candidate among the three Green MLAs.

READ MORE: Andrew Weaver to step down as B.C. Green Party leader in January

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The former teacher was thrust into the political spotlight when she led the charge to have permits rescinded for Cobble Hill Holdings to store contaminated soil upstream from Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island.

The province eventually cancelled the permit in February 2017. Furstenau was elected provincially that May.

The 48-year old was on the Greens negotiating team following the 2017 election and has served as House Leader and deputy leader.

Jonina Campbell

Deputy BC Green Party leader Jonina Campbell.
Deputy BC Green Party leader Jonina Campbell. Twitter

Campbell is currently the Green deputy leader, although she has never been elected provincially. She has been widely encouraged to run and has taken time over the holidays reflecting with her family.

There is an expectation she could announce her plans as early as next week.

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READ MORE: Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver says leader from Lower Mainland would ‘benefit’ party

The Richmond School District teacher is a former New Westminster School Board trustee. In 2017, she ran for the Greens in New Westminster, tripling the party’s support to 25 per cent.

Campbell has helped build the party’s presence in Metro Vancouver where the Greens have never won a seat. During the last election she served as the party’s education spokesperson.

Dana Taylor

Former Green Party candidate Dana Taylor.
Former Green Party candidate Dana Taylor. BC Green Party

While Campbell is the party’s deputy leader, Taylor is the Green Metro Vancouver candidate that received the highest percentage of votes in the region in 2017.

He also always seems to be running. The former North Vancouver city councillor ran provincially in the West Vancouver-Sea-to-Sky riding in 2017, and then for the Greens federally last fall.

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Taylor finished third with 22 per cent of the votes in the West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country federal riding. Like Campbell, Taylor would provide the party with a presence in Metro Vancouver.

Joe Keithley

Joe Keithley was elected to Burnaby council.
Joe Keithley was elected to Burnaby council.

The Green Party has seen recent growth not just at the federal and provincial levels, but at the municipal level as well.

After running for the Greens in the 2017 provincial election in Burnaby-Lougheed, Keithley won a seat in 2018 on Burnaby city council.

But Keithley is best known not for his political credentials, but as D.O.A member Joey S***head.

He would inject the race with big time name recognition, but it’s unclear whether that could be turned into votes for the party province-wide.

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Michael Wiebe, Adriane Carr or Pete Fry

Green Coun. Adriane Carr is the top pick for Mayor of Vancouver in an early election poll.
Green Coun. Adriane Carr is the top pick for Mayor of Vancouver in an early election poll. Global News

Success for the Greens has seemingly come in threes.

Not only are there three Green MLAs in Victoria and three Green MPs in Ottawa, but Vancouver city council also boasts three Greens: Wiebe, Carr and Fry.

A jump from Vancouver City Hall to the B.C. legislature wouldn’t be unprecedented. Gordon Campbell and Sam Sullivan have done it, while Gregor Robertson went the other direction.

READ MORE: B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver will not seek re-election in 2021

Now Wiebe, Carr and Fry will have to make the decision on whether the Green leadership is something to at least consider.

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Carr has done the job before, but since then has bolstered her reputation and name recognition by being a big vote-getter in council elections. Wiebe has been building a political resume through his time on Park Board and now city council. And Fry is well known in political circles, but may not be willing to give up the council job he ran a number of times for.

Lisa Helps

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Mayor Lisa Helps in her office at City Hall in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Helps says a move to seek federal funding for the city’s annual Remembrance Day events may have backfired. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Mayor Lisa Helps in her office at City Hall in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, March 2, 2017. Helps says a move to seek federal funding for the city’s annual Remembrance Day events may have backfired. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito.

Helps has never run under the Green Party banner, but she has significant ties to the party. As Victoria’s mayor she has been a provincial leader on the environment, housing, biking infrastructure and the city’s tech sector.

Helps has been linked to all levels of government, often being courted by the federal Liberals as a possible candidate.

She has served six years as Victoria’s mayor and it doesn’t look like she has finished all the work she set out to do.

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Second place federal Green candidates

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May looks on as she\’s joined by candidate Racelle Kooy during an announcement that the Green government will expand the single-payer medicare model to include pharmacare for everyone during a press conference while in Victoria, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May looks on as she\’s joined by candidate Racelle Kooy during an announcement that the Green government will expand the single-payer medicare model to include pharmacare for everyone during a press conference while in Victoria, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

One of the X factors in the BC Green leadership is there is also a federal Green leadership race underway. With current federal Elizabeth May planning to step aside, there is a group of Green supporters also looking at that job.

But if staying close to home seems appealing, there could be a place in the provincial party for Racelle Kooy. The candidate for Victoria in the last federal election was one of two Green candidates in BC to finish second in their riding.

The other is David Merner. The Green candidate in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke has already announced plans to run for federal leader.

Click to play video 'BC Green Party leader announces retirement' BC Green Party leader announces retirement
BC Green Party leader announces retirement – Oct 7, 2019