Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau says she likes to learn from the past.
By launching candidates well in advance, she won’t be caught off guard by a snap election like the last one in 2020.
She said Premier David Eby has assured her there will not be a surprise early election this time, but she doesn’t want to depend on that.
“Rather than wait, I want us to be over-prepared for the next election. This is what it takes to get elected as a Green. You need a long runway.”
On Jan. 28 at the Taghum Hall, about 60 people attended as Furstenau officially launched Nicole Charlwood as the Green candidate for Nelson-Creston.
Charlwood, who also ran for the Greens in 2020, told the Nelson Star that she is seeing many recent spending announcements from the NDP government, such as the preservation of parts of the Incomappleux Valley. She thinks these could be a precursor to an election, and having a new premier could also be seen as a legitimate reason for an early election.
According to legislation, the next provincial election must be held by October 2024 at the latest.
In the 2020 provincial election, the NDP’s Brittny Anderson led with 41.78 per cent of the vote, followed by Charlwood for the Greens with 32.13 per cent and the Liberals’ Tanya Finley with 23.89 per cent.
In provincial elections since 2009 in Nelson-Creston, the percentage of votes garnered by the Greens has gradually increased from 7.2 per cent.
In 2020, Anderson led Charlwood by 1,685 votes out of a total of 17,462 total votes cast.
Charlwood said she is confident that by attracting some disenchanted NDP and Liberal voters, and by appealing to first time voters, she can overcome that gap.
“Last time, I entered the race when the election was already called … and I raised $42,000 in three weeks and got over 31 per cent of the vote. To me, that’s a clue that there is an appetite for change.”
Charlwood served on Nelson City Council starting in March 2021 after winning a byelection, but did not run for re-election in the October 2022 municipal election.
She said this was because she wanted to attempt again to be elected provincially, because of an important thing she learned on city council.
“One of the things that upsets me — and this is one of my biggest motivators — is that local government should have more power. They already hold 60-to-80 per cent of the responsibilities to taxpayers, and they get about 10 per cent of the purse. That is not the fault of local government.”
This imbalance can only be righted by the provincial government, she said, hence her decision to run provincially.
Currently the Greens hold two seats in the B.C. legislature, filled by Furstenau and Adam Olsen. In the previous government, elected in 2017, the Greens held three seats, enough to give them a balance of power in the legislature and some influence over the NDP government.
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