Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)

VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Sonia Furstenau’s first month as leader for the BC Greens is one she soon won’t forget.

One week after Furstenau was voted in as party leader by supporters, BC NDP Premier-elect John Horgan called a snap election – dissolving the prior coalition agreement between the two parties that was created after the 2017 election and allowed the NDP to form a minority government.

Furstenau, projected winner for the Cowichan Valley, was forced to hit the ground running, finding candidates to tout the Greens platform in each of B.C.’s 87 ridings.

Most will agree: her hard work paid off on Saturday night (Oct. 24), not only expanding the Greens’ footprint but also capturing the party’s first riding outside of Vancouver Island.

“I think it’s an indication that we are no longer limited just to the Vancouver Island, where we’ve been strong, but that people around the province are recognizing that the Greens are offering a very important alternative than the kind of politics of the other two parties,” Furstenau told reporters from Election Day party headquarters in Victoria, shortly after media projected Horgan would be premier and backed by a majority government.

Adam Olsen, who served as interim leader after Andrew Weaver stepped down in January, is projected to be re-elected in the riding of Saanich North and Islands. Jeremy Valeriote cinched the West Vancouver – Sea to Sky riding, making the first-ever win for the Greens in the Lower Mainland.

Weaver’s former riding of Oak Bay Gordon Head flipped orange, however, and was won by NDP candidate Murray Rankin.

Since government was dissolved in mid-September, Furstenau has criticized Horgan for calling an election during a time when political leaders need to be focusing on COVID-19 recovery. During the election campaign, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared that B.C. had entered its second wave of the pandemic, reporting more than 200 cases each day this past week.

ALSO READ: Incumbent Sonia Furstenau says lots of work to be done in Cowichan Valley

Unlike Horgan and BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, Furstenau had to not only push Green platform pledges but also introduce herself to the province beyond her Cowichan Valley riding as the new party leader.

During the only televised debate, Furstenau notably pushed to differentiate herself from the other two party leaders when she pledged to work to end systemic racism but admitted that the three of them, who are all white, could never grasp its nuances.

While Horgan’s risk to call a pandemic election paid off, flipping historically Liberal ridings in the Fraser Valley in what is being dubbed the “orange crush,” Furstenau said Saturday night that the Greens will ensure accountability from the NDP in the B.C. Legislature.

“They were half successful,” she said.

“What these results are showing is that British Columbians are not willing to give the government a pass on things like climate change, old-growth [forests] protection or the holes in COVID recovery plan.”

Based off Elections BC preliminary results, the NDP are projected to lead a majority government with 55 seats. The Liberals are projected to have garnered 29 seats, followed by the Greens with three seats.

Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until mid-November, after those mail-in ballots are counted beginning Nov. 6.

Across B.C., a total of 497,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday (Oct. 23). There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

Video by Arnold Lim, Black Press Media


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

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

Just Posted

Emergency crews respond to crash just before midnight on Trans-Canada Highway east of Salmon Arm. (File photo)
Two pick-up trucks collide head-on on Trans-Canada Highway near Salmon Arm

Police report drivers survive crash late on Nov. 29, taken to hospital

Okanagan College students Michael Ochoa and Tallin Gregoire, both members of the Okanagan Indian Band, raised the Okanagan Nation Alliance flag on July 16, 2019,  outside the Vernon campus. (Karissa Gall photo)
First Nations reconciliation personified at Okanagan College

President Jim Hamilton’s foresight has opened post-secondary education doors for Okanagan College’s Indigenous students

“Am I racist?” signs like the one standing on the west end of Salmon Arm are part of an anti-racism campaign launched in November 2020 by B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner. Hate crimes have been rising in B.C., particularly during the pandemic. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
‘Am I racist?’ sign in Shuswap part of B.C. campaign to combat racism

As hate crimes rise, Office of Human Rights Commissioner would like citizens to examine inner biases

As of Nov. 30, online appointments for Interior Health’s blood lab at the top of Tank Hill will be done through the health authority’s new online booking tool www.labonlinebooking.ca/login. (File photo)
New system to launch for Salmon Arm lab services appointments

Interior Health transitioning to different online booking tool on Nov. 30

A bus shelter in White Rock is emblazoned with an ad from B.C.’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Black Press Media files)
VIDEO: ‘Am I racist?’ campaign asks British Columbians to confront their unconscious biases

Signs asking British Columbians to think about racial injustice have been put up across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

The missing snowmen were found down the road Monday after being removed from their rightful places Sunday, Nov. 29. (Contributed)
Missing snowmen go for an evening stroll in Okanagan

Large Mrs. Snowman cutout apparently went for a walk

A Summerland municipal employee has tested positive for COVID-19. (Summerland Review file photo)
Summerland municipal employee tests positive for COVID-19

Employee now self-isolating and recovering at home

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond speaks to a reporter in Vancouver on November 13, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
No evidence that B.C. ER staff played blood alcohol level game, but Indigenous racism widespread

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond releases findings of independent investigation

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News staff)
Kelowna break-in suspect arrested over weekend

The incident happened on Nov. 28 at approximately 4:40 a.m.

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Vehicle damaged on Nov. 27 on East Boundary Road in West Kelowna. (Photo - Brooke Woodman)
Man arrested after allegedly smashing vehicle windows and stealing in West Kelowna

A man was seen throwing rocks at vehicles on East Boundary Road in West Kelowna on Nov. 27

Lauren Shular shows the Apexico Tshirts she designed and is selling
UBC Okanagan student says ‘if can’t go to Mexico – head to Apexico’

Apex family have designed fun Tshirts that are flying off the cabin shelves

Most Read