Fresh off a leadership race, Greens will unveil candidates in days ahead: Furstenau

NDP Leader John Horgan’s snap election call has left the B.C. Green Party scrambling to field a slate of candidates just days after selecting a new leader.

But Sonia Furstenau, who won the top job on Sept. 14, insisted Tuesday that her party is ready for battle despite the tight turnaround.

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“Let’s be clear, the NDP knew exactly what they were doing in calling this election at this time and we are going to show them we are not in a weakened state,” she said.

“We are very strong. We are very prepared and we are excited to present to British Columbia an alternative to the kind of politics that they’ve had to endure for generations.”

Furstenau made the comments during a campaign stop in Brentwood Bay where she announced herself and fellow Green MLA Adam Olsen as the party’s first two acclaimed candidates.

Furstenau will run again in Cowichan Valley, while Olsen will seek re-election in Saanich North and the Islands.

As the NDP and Liberals released lists of candidates in ridings across the province, Furstenau said the rest of her team will be unveiled in the coming days.

“Our leadership race has just finished,” she said. “I’m on day eight as leader of the B.C. Greens, and that leadership race gave us a lot of momentum and doubled our number of members.

“We got a lot of people interested in the B.C. Greens, and we’re building on that momentum, we’re building on that strength, and we are going to run a province-wide campaign.”

Gerald Baier, an associate professor of political science at the University of B.C., said there’s no question that Horgan’s snap election call has put the Green Party at a disadvantage.

“I don’t know if it’s specifically in Horgan’s strategic calculations, but obviously, you have two opponents in this election and one of them is going to be grossly under-prepared in a sense,” said Baier, acting director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Institutions.

He noted that the NDP is worried about the Greens all over B.C., but particularly on Vancouver Island, where the Green Party won three seats in 2017.

“If the Greens aren’t ready on the Island and some of the places where they would be more competitive, that gives the NDP a little bit of a jump on them, right? But, I mean, the NDP are going into this without a full list of candidates too, so it really is a snap election in that regard.”

Neither party has selected a candidate in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, won by former Green Party leader Andrew Weaver in 2013 and 2017. Weaver, who left the Greens in January to sit as an Independent, is not seeking re-election.

The Liberals have nominated lawyer Roxanne Helme, while former Victoria MP Murray Rankin and ex-Oak Bay councillor Michelle Kirby are vying for the NDP nomination. As for a potential Green candidate, Furstenau invited voters to stay tuned.

lkines@timescolonist.com

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