MLA Sonia Furstenau has been elected by her party as the new leader of the BC Green Party.
Furstenau won a close leadership race totaling 2,428 votes on the second ballot to defeat Cam Brewer. Brewer received 2,127 votes.
On the first ballot Fustenau received 2,197 votes, Brewer got 1,916 votes and Kim Darwin received 521 votes. No one received enough votes to win on the first ballot.
The party announced 85 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots during the leadership contest.
The leader was originally supposed to be selected in June but was pushed back due to COVID-19.
The Greens have struggled to get attention for the leadership race due to the ongoing pandemic.
Furstenau is now expected to be thrust straight into an election campaign. Premier John Horgan is expected to call a fall election if COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases do not get to the point where they are no longer manageable.
“The political structures we have in place reinforce hyper-partisanship, perpetuating the myth that this is ‘just how politics is done’. These past few weeks, this kind of politics has reared its head again, as the spectre of a completely unnecessary, irresponsible early election in the middle of a pandemic is being contemplated simply because it might benefit one party’s political fortunes,” Furstenau said during her acceptance speech.
“I say to John Horgan, you have a responsibility to govern, not play politics.”
Furstenau says if the NDP triggered an early election it would do so during the midst of two overlapping health emergenciesm while kids are navigating an entirely new way of being in school, and covid-19 cases are rising.
“This is not the time to dissolve government, to leave a province leaderless for over a month in hopes of securing more power for yourself – this is a time when we need our Ministers of Health and Education to be working alongside our Public Health Officer to do all they can to protect the health and well being of the people of BC,” Furstenau said.
“Do not succumb to the old ways of doing politics in this new and altered world. Instead rise above partisanship and put the people you serve ahead of your party’s self-interest.”
The BC Greens won three ridings in 2017 and held the balance of power. Furstenau was part of the team of Greens who negotiated with both the BC Liberals and the BC NDP before ultimately deciding to support Premier John Horgan.
One of Furstenau’s campaign promises is a four day work week. Furstenau is proposing conversations with businesses and labour organization to shorten the work week for full-time workers in an attempt to improve work-life balance.