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)

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

File photo
Greenwood streets due for spring cleaning

City crews to start on residential streets Friday, April 16

Barbed wire hangs over a chain-link fence at Grand Forks public works yard at 130 Industrial Dr. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks to increase security following theft, break-ins at city properties

Grand Forks RCMP said break-ins at abandoned homes accounted for majority of recent property crime

The Rock Creek Fall Fair is coming back next September. It's size and scope depends on pandemic constraints, said general manager Lisa Sims. Photo: Facebook — Rock Creek Fall Fair
Rock Creek Fall Fair planners hoping for as big a return as possible

The fair launched 50-50 ticket sales Thursday, April 15

Easterly winds vent smoke from a controlled behind rural Grand Forks’ Spencer Hill Wednesday, April 14. Photo: Darlainea Redlack
Grand Forks’ wildfire operations centre reports successful controlled burn near city

Lead officer James Kastonoff said some smoke will stay in the area through Thursday, April 15

Mayor and council on Monday, April 12, narrowly voted to keep the old Hardy View Lodge shelter open for potentially another year. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks to keep shelter open during housing negotiations with province

The current facility at 2320 78th Ave. will stay open as a COVID-shelter, according to city council’s resolution

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Road rager fails breathalyzer on busy B.C. highway in vehicle he shouldn’t be driving

Saanich police say man was operating vehicle without required ignition lock

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada’s incoming supply of Moderna vaccine slashed in half through end of April

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Most Read