An online feud between the former leader of the BC Green Party and the current deputy leader doesn’t make either side look good, a political scientist at the University of the Fraser Valley says.
On Saturday night, Andrew Weaver posted multiple comments on Twitter critical of MLA Sonia Furstenau, the only candidate to officially declare a leadership bid after he stepped down in November.
“Feuds like this are never helpful in leadership campaigns,” Hamish Telford said in an interview with Global News on Monday.
“Whenever leaders snipe at potential replacements, it doesn’t look good and isn’t helpful. It doesn’t look good on the old leader and doesn’t help the party. It really undermines the new leader.”
The online criticism started when Weaver called Furstenau’s idea to move to a four-day work week “kooky,” and accused her of merely seeking attention and not doing any “background research.”
The idea gained steam after New Zealand’s prime minister suggested it could work in her country as officials look for ways to safely restart the economy under the pandemic.
“I spent a lot of time building a party from the bottom up based on sound, evidence-based decision-making and this is clearly not that,” Weaver said.
“What we don’t need is Big Brother that is government coming in and decreeing that every thou shalt do this.”
Weaver was instrumental in building the Greens up as a legitimate party in B.C., but Telford said former leaders are usually expected to “have the party at their heart” once they’re gone.
Weaver left the party entirely in January to sit as an independent, citing family health issues.
Furstenau told Global News she was “very surprised” by the comments, and insisted the party has taken the time to develop the policy now being considered in New Zealand.
“It is a great opportunity to talk about a lot of the ideas that are before us during our recovery from COVID — to really look at what kind of economy and what kind of society we want to build,” she said.
Weaver also stated he’d wanted to go to an election over B.C.’s pursuit of investments in liquefied natural gas, saying both interim leader Adam Olsen and Furstenau were “afraid to stand up” for the party’s stance.
Furstenau said her record is clear on LNG, that they “very much” denounced such expansion.