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BC Greens cancel public events amidst leadership race to reduce risk of coronavirus

Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau kicks off her leadership campaign.
Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau kicks off her leadership campaign. Richard Zussman/Global News

The B.C. Green Party is cancelling all in-person public events to reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 in the midst of its leadership contest.

The party says the change will remain in effect until further notice.

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“Today, I issued instructions to all staff, volunteers and leadership campaigns to immediately cancel all in-person public events and to convene online when possible,” party executive director Andrew Brown said in a statement.

“The health and safety of our communities is of the utmost importance. While this is disappointing for everyone involved in organizing upcoming riding association AGMs, leadership campaign events and other gatherings, we are asking everyone to contribute and take necessary actions to reduce the risk of transmission.”

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Leadership candidate and current MLA Sonia Furstenau announced she has now cancelled leadership campaign events in Peachland, Kelowna, Nelson, Ymir, Vernon and Kamloops over the course of the next week.

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MLA Sonia Furstenau announces bid to become B.C. Green Party leader
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“My campaign staff is cancelling all our events and will continue to follow the advice of the party and of experts,” Furstenau said.

“We are revising our campaign plan to hold online events, and are organizing an online townhall to be announced as soon as possible.

“I extend my sincere apologies to the communities that I have been unable to visit, and my thanks to community organizers and my campaign team, who have been working hard to prepare for this trip. If the advice from the party and experts changes prior to the conclusion of the leadership campaign, we will do everything in our power to reschedule events.”

Furstenau is the only declared candidate to replace former leader Andrew Weaver. Former candidate Kim Darwin is also considering joining the race.

The party will announce the new leader on June 26, 2020 in Nanaimo.

“It is extremely important that we take care of ourselves and our communities during this uncertain time,” interim leader Adam Olsen said.

“I ask that everyone follow the simple instructions that can limit the spread of this virus: wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, cough and sneeze into your elbows or tissues, avoid handshakes, stay home if you are ill, and avoid organizing or attending non-essential public gatherings.”

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