Sonia Furstenau, MLA for the Cowichan Valley and leader of the provincial Green Party, has announced that she intends to run for her seat again in the next provincial election.
Furstenau, who has represented the Cowichan Valley in the B.C. Legislature since 2017, made the announcement at a public event she hosted on Oct. 21 at Duncan’s City Square to celebrate volunteers in the community and those that ran in the recent municipal elections.
She said the next provincial election is not scheduled until October, 2024, but now that David Eby has taken over the leadership of the NDP from the retiring John Horgan and is now premier, there is the possibility that a snap provincial election could be called before 2024.
“I expect the next election won’t be held until the fall of 2024, but we must be prepared and not find ourselves caught off guard if one is called before then,” Furstenau said.
Furstenau said she’s confident she can win the Cowichan Valley seat again in the next election, even if the riding sees significant boundary changes in its south end that could take communities where she has substantial support out of the electoral district.
B.C.’s Electoral Boundaries Commission is recommending that Shawnigan Lake, Mill Bay and Cobble Hill be removed from the electoral district and become part of a reconfigured Juan de Fuca-Malahat riding.
The commission recently made dozens of recommendations to change the boundaries of ridings in the province and add some new ones in an effort to deal with changing populations and to ensure that B.C. residents have effective representation.
Furstenau first rose in political prominence when she was the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s director for Shawnigan Lake and was one of the leaders of the successful fight to stop the importation of contaminated soil to a site in her electoral area.
Furstenau said there’s still a number of steps to be taken before the commission submits its report and recommendations to B.C.’s legislature for consideration.
“The commission is still gathering input from the public before a final report is submitted to the legislature,” she said.
“If it is passed before the next election then I expect, as in the past, that the changes will come into force for the next election, but there’s still a lot of questions and unknowns at this stage.”
Furstenau said regardless if the boundary changes are made or not, she intends to run on her record in the next election.
“I will focus on my work and accomplishments as the MLA for the Cowichan Valley and as leader of the province’s Green Party,” she said.