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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

First annual Forest Service Road Clean Up For Wildlife goes until May 31

Taking place from May 16-31, the contest is open for anyone to enter

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Editorial: Tragic loss

The death of Captain Jennifer Casey of CFS Snowbirds has been mourned across the country

Logan Macnair’s debut novel Panegyric tackles artistic integrity, unfulfilled ambition

Macnair grew up in Williams Lake and recently completed his PhD in criminology

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

82% of all test-positive COVID-19 cases in B.C. have recovered

B.C. had 303 active cases as of Saturday, May 23

Most Read