Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau, Kim Darwin and Cam Brewer are all fighting to win the BC Greens leadership race. (The Canadian Press, Kim Darwin/Twitter)

Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau, Kim Darwin and Cam Brewer are all fighting to win the BC Greens leadership race. (The Canadian Press, Kim Darwin/Twitter)

Three Greens in leadership race to replace former leader Andrew Weaver Sept. 14

Greens won three seats in 2017 and reached an deal giving the NDP a chance to form a minority government

Andrew Weaver casts a long shadow over British Columbia’s Green party and the candidates running to replace the former leader credit him for the party’s recent political success in the province.

Cam Brewer and Kim Darwin say Weaver inspired them to become Greens, while Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau says the three-member Green caucus has successfully influenced environmental, social and economic policies in the legislature.

“It was an extraordinary thing to be the first Green caucus elected in Canada,” said Furstenau.

“I would point to an opposition caucus consisting of three people achieving an enormous amount of what was in their platform as a pretty extraordinary achievement.”

The Greens won three seats in the 2017 election and reached an agreement giving the NDP a chance to form a minority government. That agreement meant they have been a factor in legislation and policy to ban large political donations and in reforms on lobbying, as well as had a say on environmental and economic initiatives.

Weaver stepped aside as party leader to sit as an Independent in the legislature. Those running to replace him are set to participate in an online debate Tuesday evening. A new leader will be announced Sept. 14 after online and telephone voting that runs from Sept. 5 to 13.

Furstenau, 50, whose leadership campaign has received the endorsement of high-profile supporters like federal Green Leader Elizabeth May and environmentalist David Suzuki, describes herself as a collaborator who can build teams that get results.

“Where we need to go as a party is to become increasingly diverse and inclusive and to speak more and more to issues that matter in the day-to-day lives of people: inequality, affordability and how are we going to create a post-carbon economy,” she said in a recent interview.

Furstenau supports a four-day work week, which she says is receiving interest from employers who are looking for new ways to do business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The evidence and data shows that companies that pivot to four-day work weeks reap benefits they hadn’t expected,” said Furstenau. “What they hadn’t anticipated is how much happier and how much healthier their staff would be.”

Cam Brewer said his professional and personal life had connected him to the Greens for decades, but it was Weaver’s message of economic and environmental innovation that convinced him to join the party and run for leader.

Brewer, 53, who practises environmental and aboriginal law, helped structure the Forest Stewardship Council and founded the Eco-Lumber Co-op, which manufactured and distributed the province’s sustainable wood products.

“Those experiences showed me we have to move beyond sounding the alarm and having bumper-sticker sort of solutions,” said Brewer, whose website lists Weaver as a member of his advisory council.

Brewer said the Greens are positioned to make political gains in B.C.

“The platform is there in the Green party and has been there for a long time, but we need a leader who’s going to be able to reach out to the different communities,” said Brewer.

Darwin said she joined the Green party after meeting Weaver at a chamber of commerce breakfast meeting in 2014. Darwin, an independent mortgage consultant and former president of the Sechelt Chamber of Commerce, said Weaver’s passion and pragmatism led her to join the Greens.

“He really started to articulate the Green message in a fashion that can be heard outside of our typical bubble,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with making money when you’re helping people and saving the planet.”

Darwin ran as the Green candidate in her home riding of Powell River-Sunshine Coast in 2017, losing to New Democrat Nicholas Simons.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

British Columbia

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

Just Posted

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Danielle Groenendijk raised more than twice her goal for Parkinson’s Canada. (Photo submitted)
VIU volleyball athlete doubles fundraising goal for Parkinson’s

Daily runs over 30 days by Groenendijk add up to 254 kilometres

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New street signs in Duncan in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional native names on signs

Possible COVID-19 exposures may have occurred at Alexander Elementary School on Jan. 13, 14 and 15. (Google Maps)
Alexander Elementary in Duncan announces possible COVID-19 exposures

Exposures may have occurred on Jan. 13, 14 and 15

North Cowichan to add three more off-leash dog areas in the new year. (File photo)
North Cowichan adds three new off-leash areas

Trial program runs through 2021, but not the summer months

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk in Nanaimo

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after suspicious device found in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read