The B.C. Greens say they weren’t caught off-guard, but they’re in a position where the election campaign is underway and they don’t have a candidate yet in any of Nanaimo’s ridings.
The Greens have one person seeking the nomination in Nanaimo-North Cowichan, a shortlist of candidates in Nanaimo and a couple of names in Parksville-Qualicum that have been forwarded to the party for vetting.
Lex Dunn, vice-chairman of the B.C. Green Party’s Nanaimo riding association, said his group has a “fire under us” to find the right candidate and is looking forward to the party being able to make an announcement.
“We’re down to the shortlist of potential candidates. We have, who we think, are some pretty exciting, interesting candidates to line up,” Dunn said. “We thought we’d have another year … Isn’t it terrible when you can’t trust a governing political party?”
Parksville-Qualicum volunteer David Haynes said the B.C. Greens in his area aren’t as organized as in Nanaimo, though they have been able to put forward a couple of candidates for the party to vet. He said the election call has created anger toward B.C. Premier John Horgan, but said the party will be as ready as it can be in that riding.
“It’s never enough. No matter how organized we were, we could always do something better,” he said.
In Nanaimo-North Cowichan, Chris Istace is seeking the nomination to be the B.C. Greens’ candidate.
Deraek Menard, a volunteer in that riding, said the B.C. Green Party is “swamped” with work following the snap election call, but said the party wasn’t caught off-guard.
“It hasn’t caught us flat-footed,” he said. “Obviously this was done with the intention of catching us in that way, as we just finished an internal leadership race.”
Dunn said any of the candidates who recently ran for B.C. Green Party leader would have been good choices, but said Sonia Furstenau’s experience in provincial politics makes her best-equipped to transition immediately to an election.
“Sonia’s going to be more than ready,” Dunn said. “Her statements to the press have been focused, on point and sharp.”
Dunn said the election is all about political opportunism and poses health risks, and Menard suggested it’s a power grab during a pandemic.
“It’s massively opportunistic and not being well received, as far as I’m aware,” he said.
The NDP has announced that Sheila Malcolmson will be seeking re-election in Nanaimo and Doug Routley will be seeking re-election in Nanaimo-North Cowichan. The B.C. Liberals have announced that Michelle Stilwell will seek re-election in Parksville-Qualicum and have named Duck Paterson as candidate in Nanaimo-North Cowichan.
The provincial election is Oct. 24.