Local residents and members of the BC Green Party gathered at the Wildwood Pub on Wednesday, August 14, for a Pints and Politics event with Sonia Furstenau, one of three BC Green Party MLAs.
During her visit to Powell River, Furstenau gave a speech at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The Green MLA also met with mayor Dave Formosa, Tla’amin Nation hegus Clint Williams and City of Powell River sustainability plannerAna Lukyanova.
Wednesday’s public event, hosted by the Powell River-Sunshine Coast Green Party Electoral District Association, was part of a tour of ridings across the province.
“The event was a huge success and saw close to 40 people attend; attendance exceeded our expectations for a summer event,” said EDA president and former Green Party candidate Kim Darwin. “There were many engaging conversations between Sonia and supporters on housing, mental health and addictions, climate action, future local employment and innovation.”
The party hosted a similar event with Green Party leader Andrew Weaver in Sechelt the following evening.
In an interview with the Peak, Furstenau said her visits to Powell River and other ridings help her and her fellow caucus members to make more informed choices in the Legislature.
“Wherever you go in the province, things are fairly similar; we all really want the same things,” she said. “I certainly heard from the mayor and council the issue of the opioid crisis, which is an issue that’s affecting communities all over BC.”
Also discussed was last year’s electoral reform referendum, a cornerstone priority for the Greens in the last election, which saw a significant majority of BC voters opting to maintain the status quo. Powell River-Sunshine Coast, however, was among the ridings where a majority of voters were in favour of change.
“I don’t think it’s ever to bed,” said Furstenau. “We can always look to improve how our democracy works, particularly in times where we’re seeing faltering democracies and democratic institutions in other countries and other jurisdictions. We have to recognize democracy is frail.
“One way I’m really proud of us as a caucus is to introduce a different way of being in the Legislature, to let go of the hyper-partisan, adversarial approach, and to really reach out across both sides of the house and consistently ask the question: ‘how can we work together?’”
Darwin, who ran for the Greens in the Powell River-Sunshine Coast riding in 2017 and hopes to run again, said the event also attracted new volunteers to the party.
“An added benefit to the event was the addition of new volunteers who have signed up to join our riding association,” she said. “We hope to invite Sonia back to the Sunshine Coast in the fall to continue community engagement.”
A priority target for the local Greens’ fundraising efforts is gathering sufficient resources to open a Powell River campaign office come the next election. In the last contest, the EDA was only able to operate an office out of Sechelt.