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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

LETTER: Thank you, OK Tire Agassiz!

Roger Bjaanes of Harrison Hot Springs applauds some great customer service

LETTER: An unforgettable birthday

Grace Storteboom of Agassiz thanks everyone for an amazing birthday

Seabird Island community to recieve $2.1 million for community centre

Provincial, federal funding will contribute to local undertaking

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Fraser Valley

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Most Read