Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)

VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Sonia Furstenau’s first month as leader for the BC Greens is one she soon won’t forget.

One week after Furstenau was voted in as party leader by supporters, BC NDP Premier-elect John Horgan called a snap election – dissolving the prior coalition agreement between the two parties that was created after the 2017 election and allowed the NDP to form a minority government.

Furstenau, projected winner for the Cowichan Valley, was forced to hit the ground running, finding candidates to tout the Greens platform in each of B.C.’s 87 ridings.

Most will agree: her hard work paid off on Saturday night (Oct. 24), not only expanding the Greens’ footprint but also capturing the party’s first riding outside of Vancouver Island.

“I think it’s an indication that we are no longer limited just to the Vancouver Island, where we’ve been strong, but that people around the province are recognizing that the Greens are offering a very important alternative than the kind of politics of the other two parties,” Furstenau told reporters from Election Day party headquarters in Victoria, shortly after media projected Horgan would be premier and backed by a majority government.

Adam Olsen, who served as interim leader after Andrew Weaver stepped down in January, is projected to be re-elected in the riding of Saanich North and Islands. Jeremy Valeriote cinched the West Vancouver – Sea to Sky riding, making the first-ever win for the Greens in the Lower Mainland.

Weaver’s former riding of Oak Bay Gordon Head flipped orange, however, and was won by NDP candidate Murray Rankin.

Since government was dissolved in mid-September, Furstenau has criticized Horgan for calling an election during a time when political leaders need to be focusing on COVID-19 recovery. During the election campaign, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared that B.C. had entered its second wave of the pandemic, reporting more than 200 cases each day this past week.

ALSO READ: Incumbent Sonia Furstenau says lots of work to be done in Cowichan Valley

Unlike Horgan and BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, Furstenau had to not only push Green platform pledges but also introduce herself to the province beyond her Cowichan Valley riding as the new party leader.

During the only televised debate, Furstenau notably pushed to differentiate herself from the other two party leaders when she pledged to work to end systemic racism but admitted that the three of them, who are all white, could never grasp its nuances.

While Horgan’s risk to call a pandemic election paid off, flipping historically Liberal ridings in the Fraser Valley in what is being dubbed the “orange crush,” Furstenau said Saturday night that the Greens will ensure accountability from the NDP in the B.C. Legislature.

“They were half successful,” she said.

“What these results are showing is that British Columbians are not willing to give the government a pass on things like climate change, old-growth [forests] protection or the holes in COVID recovery plan.”

Based off Elections BC preliminary results, the NDP are projected to lead a majority government with 55 seats. The Liberals are projected to have garnered 29 seats, followed by the Greens with three seats.

Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until mid-November, after those mail-in ballots are counted beginning Nov. 6.

Across B.C., a total of 497,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday (Oct. 23). There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

Video by Arnold Lim, Black Press Media


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 20 is now open but conditions are still challenging (Dawson Road Maintenance photo)
Some customers still without power as additional crews brought in to help

Trees continued to fall onto lines even after the actual storm had passed

The exposure occurred on 24th, 25th, & 26th November 2020, and affects Grade 7, 8, 9, 10 (file photo)
COVID-19 case confirmed at Acwsalcta School

The exposure occurred on 24th, 25th, & 26th November 2020, and affects Grade 7, 8, 9, 10.

A convoy of vehicles passes through Heckman Pass on Highway 20 as cleanup operations continued Saturday. Dawson Road Maintenance is asking motorists to watch for crews and equipment working throughout the area. (Dawson Road Maintenance photo/Facebook)
Highway 20 reopens between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola after winter storm Friday

“We appreciate your patience as we continue to clear wood debris and widen sections of the road.”

Bella Coola RCMP are alerting residents that the road between 4 Mile subdivision and downtown will be closed until at least tomorrow. (File image)
Winter storm closes 4 Mile to downtown road in Bella Coola

Police it will remain closed until Saturday, at least

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read