Though Green Party leader Andrew Weaver has spoken at length about the future of the next government, other members of the BC Greens have been much less vocal – until now, that is.
MLA-elects Sonia Furstenau of Cowichan Valley and Adam Olsen of Saanich North & the Islands spoke on CKNW’s Jon McComb Show about what the results of the election could mean for the future of the Green Party, and B.C. politics at large.
The election stood as a surprising success for the Greens, with both Furstenau and Olsen earning a seat along with Weaver.
Therein lies the issue, however, for Furstenau – she says the Greens should have more than just those three.
“We got close to 17 per cent of the vote, and we have 3.4 per cent of the seats in the legislature. A first-past-the-post system really distorts the outcome and the intention of voters.”
She says that the Greens’ core platform tenet of electoral reform would alleviate that, and it’s what many people in B.C. voted for.
“What we hear from so many people is a huge appetite to see that remedied.”
But where that runs into trouble is how the electoral system is reformed. Now that the Greens may hold the power to choose how the government is formed, they have a tough decision to make.
The BC NDP also support electoral reform, with the caveat that a referendum is held to gauge public interest, while the Greens want it put in place immediately.
However, Olsen says that doesn’t mean they won’t take the public’s opinion into account.
“We’ll be having those discussions and doing it in a way that I think reflects what many British Columbians want, but is also sensitive to the fact that it’s important that we’re consultative as well.”
Speaking generally about the election, both Furstenau and Olsen say their platform is what drew voters in.
Furstenau says the fact that the Greens focused on things other parties left by the wayside made all the difference.
“People recognized that there was something truly different and truly appealing about our platform.”
Olsen agrees, saying this election proved that the Greens aren’t just a one-issue, environmentally-focused party.
“Our platform demonstrated that we have a broad understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing British Columbians, and we put it forward in a positive way.”
And with recounts in a selection of close ridings due to come in next week, that understanding may be put to the test if a minority government seems likely.
With files from Jeremy Lye