Sonia Furstenau announces candidacy for B.C. Greens leader

VICTORIA, BC – Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, announced that she is running to be the next leader of the B.C. Green Party at Kwench co-working space in Victoria. Furstenau was joined by six endorsers: Eli Enns, Dr. Lisa Gunderson, Andy Mackinnon, Dr. Amita Kuttner, David Slade, and Emily Hiser (quotes and titles below). 

“B.C. needs a new style of leadership that listens to evidence and to communities,” Furstenau said.

“I got into politics because I saw a disconnect between the decisions made at higher levels of government and how they affect peoples’ day to day lives. I have seen time and time again how good ideas get stalled at the provincial level due to old ways of thinking and partisan divisiveness. But, the past two and a half years in office have also made it clear to me that it does not have to be this way. 

“We need a plan for the future that embraces new ideas and MLAs who have the courage to implement it. We need to embrace solutions to the climate crisis that will improve quality of life and create opportunities for British Columbians. We need to shift away from century-old markers like GDP growth to more meaningful indicators like equality, infrastructure, health and wellbeing. We need to move beyond the tired ideological wars of the 20th century, focus on the concrete outcomes we want to achieve, and work collaboratively to find the best common-sense policies to make them happen.

“The B.C. Green Party has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years, and since beginning initial conversations about my leadership candidacy I have spoken with dozens of potential candidates, supporters and members who are excited to bring fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to this campaign. These conversations have underscored for me how much potential there is to expand our impact in provincial politics. I can’t wait to travel the province to speak to current and future members and supporters about our shared future.”

Furstenau also launched her campaign website at www.soniafurstenau.ca. She also announced that she hired two co-campaign managers and has raised more than $12,000. 

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Jillian Oliver 
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Endorser quotes

“I myself am non-partisan. As a political scientist, I was told in year one that politics is dirty by nature. However, in my observation, there is a new kind of politician emerging today – politicians who are proving that politics and integrity can co-exist. It is my observation that Sonia Furstenau is one such emerging leader, and it is for this reason that I wholeheartedly endorse her drive for Leader of the B.C. Green Party. Klecko Klecko (deep sense of gratitude)!” – Eli Enns, President and CEO, IIISAAK Olam Foundation

“I’m supporting Sonia because of her commitment to building a stronger, more inclusive, equitable, and representative democracy. She has the leadership skills required to recruit a diverse team of candidates, organizers and supporters and to win an inspiring campaign in the next election.” – Dr. Lisa Gunderson, psychologist, educator and equity consultant

“Sonia Furstenau and the BC Green Party are champions for BC’s species and ecosystems. This leadership is crucial for our province’s long-term economic, social and environmental prosperity. I believe that Sonia has the vision, the intelligence and the spirit to lead the BC Green Party, and our province, in a better direction and I’m looking forward to supporting her campaign.” – Andy Mackinnon, forest ecologist and Metchosin councillor

“Sonia has my support because I know she is committed to building a future that is equitable and just. I trust her to follow the evidence and science to create a plan for our province that acknowledges the realities we face.” – Dr. Amita Kuttner, astrophysicist and Green Party of Canada critic for science and innovation. 

“As a partner in a family owned well drilling business, a small scale organic farmer and a concerned grandfather, I appreciate that Sonia understands the role small business plays in creating resilient communities that are able to adapt to changing conditions in the economy and environment. Supporting small business keeps jobs and profits close to home, creating opportunities to invest in local products, services and networks that are more sustainable.” – David Slade, small business owner. 

“Sonia is a leader who will push for affordability, climate accountability, youth representation, and what is best for British Columbia. I am proud to be advocating for someone who will lead with kindness, knowledge, honesty, and enthusiasm.” – Emiy Hiser, University of Victoria student and Member of the Victoria Youth Council

Sonia Furstenau’s biography

Sonia is the MLA for Cowichan Valley and has served as the BC Greens Deputy Leader and House Leader in the legislature. Prior to becoming an elected official, she worked as a bookkeeper, the National Administrator for Results Canada, and a high school teacher in Victoria and Shawnigan Lake. She is the proud parent of three children and two step-children.

In 2013, Sonia began organizing alongside her community, questioning the evidence behind the government’s decision to issue permits to dump contaminated soil at the headwaters of her community’s drinking watershed. In 2014, she was elected Area Director for Area B of the Cowichan Valley Regional District. In 2017, the Ministry of the Environment revoked the permit. In October 2018, the BC Greens and the BC NDP worked together to introduce legislation to reform professional reliance, the broken system that led to the Shawnigan permits being issued in the first place. 

Sonia has served as the lead B.C. Green spokesperson for seven different government files. She has successfully advocated for changes to the child welfare system, worked with the government to make reforms to environmental legislation and to develop childcare and early childhood education programs, and stood up against the government’s tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry. She also sits on the Legislative Affairs and Management Committee, where she is working alongside her colleagues to make the legislature more transparent and accountable and to introduce a long overdue respectful workplace policy for employees. She has mentored dozens of young British Columbians through job shadowing in the Legislature. She has a BA and MA in History from the University of Victoria. 


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