The following commentary was received for publication from the British Columbia Green Party on behalf of 15 of its candidates for the upcoming provincial election in Vancouver and on the North Shore.
We are teachers, scientists, lawyers, software developers, local business owners, drug-policy experts, climate activists, filmmakers, economists, trauma counsellors. New Canadians, and those who grew up right here in Vancouver. Gen-Z, millennials, Gen-X and boomers. Political newbies and campaign-scarred veterans. We are the candidates standing for the Green party in Vancouver, and a green recovery for British Columbia.
What we have in common is a sense of urgency. Called to action by the accelerating deterioration of Earth’s living systems, the breakdown of our climate, and social injustice on every level. It’s clear that all of our crises are interlinked and we promise to follow the advice of scientists and experts to take immediate action toward solving them.
We also have a vision for our city. Quiet streets at night with no sirens piercing the air. Neighbours who know each other’s names, share food from their gardens, and take care of each others' children. An economic system that fosters community and protects our natural resources. A Downtown Eastside where instead of people suffering in the streets, they're up socializing and contributing to their community. A shared space where quality of life is rooted in connection, not consumption. Where every individual is given the support they need to thrive. That’s what we want Vancouver to look like four years after this election.
We have already been working toward this—as protectors, advocates, builders, healers, scholars—and now we are ready to use the levers of power to make the brave systemic changes so glaringly absent from our province’s legislative track record.
It’s time to stop pouring public money into the black hole of oil and gas industries. To stop felling old-growth forests. To cancel the blank cheque being given to Site C. To undertake the necessary measures to meet B.C.’s clean-climate goals. And while we’re at it, paving the way for a revitalized economy that won’t keep leaving people behind.
Our new leader, Sonia Furstenau, had been on the job for barely a week when this irresponsible election was called. Fortunately for us, she’s been preparing for this moment for many years. Holding the vision of a safe and prosperous British Columbia, Sonia’s plan for green jobs, social safety nets, and a durable economy gives us the hope we need to carry on in these complex, nerve-racking times.
Running in a snap election isn’t easy. Not many people can drop everything, scrounge for funds to take a month off work, and start a campaign in a matter of days. We are the fortunate ones that were able to do this. We recognize how the diversity of candidates in this race likely suffered because of a cynical call for an election—and we will not be silent about this fact.
Being called into service is powerful, but meeting our fellow candidates quickly put our minds at ease. We complement and strengthen each other. We all bring different skills and experience to the table—even if it’s now a virtual table across a Zoom call. And we’re united by the core principles that make us Greens: participatory democracy, sustainability, social justice, respect for diversity, ecological wisdom, and nonviolence.
From saving and bettering lives with evidence-based drug policy to providing affordable housing. From building a basic-income system to properly supporting those suffering mental-health crises. All while following through on our promises to slow and reverse climate and ecological collapse. We won’t stop until the job is done.
We believe our democracy is better when it is shared. That’s why Sonia and her colleague, Adam Olsen, have been working diligently across party lines since 2017, shaping key legislation on everything from better protecting wild salmon to restricting the impact of big money in our politics. The Green party is the party of participatory democracy—that’s why we want electoral reform and citizen’s assemblies, so every British Columbian’s voice is properly heard.
We won’t let dishonesty deter us from collaborating meaningfully with British Columbia’s next government. But we will always stake out the real differences between our policies and those of our opponents. We are striving to have a future on this planet—we want to live.
It’s time for Green teachers, scientists, lawyers, local business owners, drug-policy experts, artists, economists, software developers, climate activists, and trauma counsellors to join Sonia and Adam in Victoria. It might not be what the BC NDP wants, but it’s what our democracy needs.
Michael Barkusky, economist and accountant (Vancouver-Quilchena)
Scott Bernstein, drug policy adviser & lawyer (Vancouver-Kingsway)
Bridget Burns, entrepreneur (Vancouver-Hastings)
Christopher Hakes, business consultant (North Vancouver-Lonsdale)
Stephanie Hendy, clinical exercise physiologist (Vancouver-Langara)
Ian Goldman, immigration lawyer (Vancouver-Fairview)
Harrison Johnston, student & climate activist (North Vancouver-Seymour)
Dr. Maayan Kreitzman, sustainability scientist & activist (Vancouver-False Creek)
James Marshall, software developer (Vancouver-West End)
Nazanin Moghadami, clinical counsellor & activist (Vancouver-Kensington)
Dr. Rasoul Narimani, lab technician & lecturer (West Vancouver-Capilano)
Françoise Raunet, teacher (Vancouver-Fraserview)
Dr. Devyani Singh, climate scientist (Vancouver-Point Grey)
Kelly Tatham, writer & filmmaker (Vancouver-Mount Pleasant)
Jeremy Valeriote, engineer and former city councillor (West Vancouver-Sea to Sky)