Sonia has been standing up for climate action since she began volunteering with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) in 2011. She worked with other grassroots organizers to lobby governments in both Ottawa and Washington, DC to make policy changes.
Sonia continued her focus on climate action as when she was elected as the Shawnigan Lake Area Regional Director for the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD). Sonia spoke against a terminal being built by Steelhead LNG on Malahat Nation lands in 2016, arguing that the project was not worth the damage to the environment and coastline that serves as a local economic driver.
In 2017, shortly after she was elected as an MLA for Cowichan Valley, the project closed due to not being financially competitive. “There would have been risks to the environment and safety if the project proceeded. Having an LNG pipeline underwater and having tanker ships move through the Saanich Inlet were concerns on both sides of the inlet,” she said at the time.
When Sonia spoke and voted against the Coastal Gaslink (CGL) project in the Legislative Assembly, only Sonia and the other two BC Greens MLAs voted against it. 83 BC BC NDP and BC Liberal MLAs voted in favour of giving CGL a $6 billion dollar government subsidy.
Sonia doesn’t believe in using BC taxpayer dollars to subsidize foreign multinational corporations with a corporate welfare package. She knows that we need to end all oil and gas subsidies immediately, because the future of BC’s economy does not lie in the fossil fuel industry.
Project opponents have also argued that CGL violates the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and thus the 2019 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which commits BC to a new model of working together with Indigenous communties. “We argued against proceeding with a megaproject that was having Indigenous people dragged off their land before construction even started,” Sonia said on Feb 11, 2020.
Sonia continues to serve as a champion for the climate action community in her role as an MLA. Sonia introduced the Citizens’ Climate Lobby of Canada to the house in 2018, and arranged for the CCL action group to speak directly with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategies, George Heyman, about meaningful steps that the province needs to take to reduce BC’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
In her leadership campaign, Sonia has released her Resilient BC strategy, that will strengthen communities in the face of climate change. She worked with experts across the province to craft evidence-based, common sense policies that will spur innovation and create jobs and economic opportunities throughout the province, especially in rural BC. For example, she would invest in diversifying fuel sources to assist communities with the transition off of diesel generators to cleantech, and in building infrastructure such as dykes and seawalls.
Sonia believes that we can act with a sense of urgency and take proactive steps to transition our economy and reduce carbon emissions, while also creating new economic opportunities for people all across BC. There are so many exciting opportunities available to us – from value-added resources, to research and development, to green infrastructure – that will build a stronger, more sustainable province for generations to come. All we need is the political will to make it happen.
Sonia has a proven track record of working across party lines and with stakeholders to get things done for British Columbians. As BC Greens Leader, she will be prepared to use her plan and strong networks to bring real climate action to BC.