Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau is seeking the leadership of the B.C. Green Party. The leadership race has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)

B.C. Greens suspend leadership race due to COVID-19

Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau among contenders

The B.C. Green Party has suspended its leadership race due to the COVID-19 pandemic, provincial council chair Sat Harwood announced on Friday.

“We are facing a global pandemic that requires all hands on deck,” Harwood esplained. “It is more important than the political processes of the B.C. Green Party. No decision has been made on when the contest will resume, but we will be monitoring the situation on an on-going basis.”

The party’s annual convention, originally scheduled for June 26-28, has been cancelled, and staff are looking into ways to hold the meeting online.

Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau and Kim Darwin, who ran for the Powell River–Sunshine Coast seat in the last provincial election, had announced their intentions of seeking the leadership position, which has been vacant since Andrew Weaver stepped down in January. Saanich North and the Islands MLA Adam Olsen has been serving as interim leader, and will remain in that position until a new leader has been selected.

“The COVID-19 crisis has impacted our lives in countless ways,” Olsen said. “A leadership contest in the midst of a pandemic cannot embody participatory democracy, one of our party’s six core principles. Instead, we must put our efforts into taking care of one another. The work of the B.C. Green Party continues in supporting emergency legislation, distributing essential information and getting people the support they need.”

Furstenau agreed with the decision to suspend the leadership contest.

“At this stage, there remains a lot of uncertainty regarding the full impacts of COVID-19 on British Columbians,” she said in an official statement. “It is clearly inappropriate to continue aggressive campaigning and fundraising in light of the stresses and pressures people are facing. In the past few weeks, we modified our campaign to a digital strategy with a sole focus on listening to and supporting people. Hundreds of people have contributed time, energy and resources to my campaign and I am deeply grateful for their support. I would particularly like to thank my campaign staff who have worked incredibly hard to build fresh excitement around the party and who now face great uncertainty regarding their futures.”

Darwin also issued a statement supporting the decision.

“We know our members and supporters are all dealing with the far-reaching, and as yet unpredictable, effects of COVID-19 in varying degrees,” she said. “Our hearts go out to those affected, whether physically or economically, and those who are caring for loved ones.

“Providing additional time for our members and supporters to focus on choosing our next leader shows compassion and understanding to those who may be struggling with all the extenuating circumstances related to COVID-19.

“We look forward to a spirited race in the near future, but our priority right now is to allow British Columbians time to focus on flattening the curve.”

BC legislatureCoronavirusGreen Party

Just Posted

MLA says no COVID-19 cases here in seven weeks, clash between B.C. and Alberta exaggerated

Clovechok said cars were keyed, but he believes the incidents were isolated.

Métis communities make do with minimal financial aid from Trudeau; CBT offers support

Métis citizens in valley forged ahead thanks to support from local leadership and community groups

Badgers, bears and birds to benefit from bolstering bunchgrass conservation in Rocky Mountain Trench

260 hectares (637 acres) near Canal Flats acquired for conservation

Furor erupts over CastleRock mountain bike trails

A petition has garnered 1,700 signatures so far and seeks to have the CastleRock trails legitimized.

Pedestrian-only main street?

A car-free, pedestrian-only main street in downtown Invermere could be a possibility this summer.

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read