VANCOUVER – The leader of the B.C. Green party is betting on a legislature in which one party doesn’t hold all the power in the final days of a snap election campaign that began a week after her leadership victory.
After supporting the NDP in a minority government, Sonia Furstenau said she is driven by “a sense of purpose that we did improve governance and politics in British Columbia by having Greens in the legislature.”
The election in 2017 brought the Green party power it had not previously enjoyed after its three-member caucus struck a deal with the NDP.
Furstenau, 50, points to the Greens’ role in policy-making over the last 3 1/2 years, from a ban on corporate and union donations to the fair wages commission to the CleanBC plan and work to protect wild salmon.
“The list goes on and on,” said Furstenau, who was first elected to represent the Vancouver Island riding of Cowichan Valley in 2017 after serving as the director for the regional district in Shawnigan Lake.
When COVID-19 hit the province, she said people saw the legislature at its best as members of all three parties worked together to tackle the pandemic.
“We recognized in this kind of health emergency that we had to put service ahead of everything else,” she said in a telephone interview, pointing to the rapid approval of $5 billion in funding for pandemic relief in late March.
The agreement between the NDP and the Greens was not unlike coalitions and other forms of collaboration common in some European countries, said Max Cameron, a politics professor at the University of British Columbia.