May backs Sonia Furstenau for leadership of B.C. Greens

Former federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May wants to see Sonia Furstenau as the next leader of the provincial Greens.

May endorsed the Cowichan Valley MLA, who is deputy leader of the B.C. Green Party, on Tuesday.

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Party members will vote on who they want to replace Andrew Weaver. Weaver resigned as leader last fall and became an Independent in January, citing family health demands. He does not plan to run for re-election.

Adam Olsen, the MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, is the party’s interim leader. Nominations in the leadership contest are open until July 27.

The only other contestant so far is financial consultant Kim Darwin, who ran as a candidate in Powell River-Sunshine Coast in the 2017 provincial election.

“Sonia is a proven leader,” May said. “She’s extremely articulate, eloquent, brilliant, sharp, also courageous. She is someone who stands up and speaks out on behalf of our natural world. She’s a champion for water. And I know with Sonia at the helm of the Green Party of British Columbia we’ll elect more talented Greens to our legislature in Victoria.”

Darwin belongs in the legislature with Furstenau as leader, said May.

Campaigning resumed last month after it was suspended at the end of March due to the pandemic. A leadership debate is planned for Sept. 1, with online voting scheduled for Sept. 5-13. The new leader will be announced on Sept. 14.

The 2017 provincial election saw the B.C. Green Party under Weaver win three seats that decided the balance of power between the Liberals and the NDP.

Weaver signed a confidence and supply agreement with Premier John Horgan and promised the Greens would support an NDP government on important parliamentary votes, helping to topple the government of Liberal premier Christy Clark.

Since leaving the party, Weaver has criticized his former colleagues.

In May, Weaver said he wanted to call an election over the NDP’s support for the LNG Canada/Coastal GasLink project, but was outvoted by Olsen and Furstenau.

“My former colleagues @AdamPOlsen & @SoniaFurstenau were afraid to stand up to the B.C. NDP [with respect to] the LNG development,” he wrote on Twitter on May 23. “I was ready to go to election, but in my opinion, they were more interested in re-election than they were about standing up for @BCGreen principles.”

Weaver also used the social media platform to oppose Furstenau after she supported the idea of a four-day work week.

The next provincial election is scheduled for Oct. 16, 2021, but it could be held sooner if the government decides to call an election or loses the confidence of the legislative assembly.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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