British Columbia

Sonia Furstenau elected B.C. Green Party leader

The Cowichan MLA defeated two challengers in the race to replace former leader Andrew Weaver.

Cowichan MLA defeats Cam Brewer and Kim Darwin in the race to replace former leader Andrew Weaver

B.C. MLA Sonia Furstenau represents the riding of Cowichan Valley. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Sonia Furstenau is the new leader of the British Columbia Green Party.

The MLA for Cowichan Valley defeated challenger Cam Brewer, garnering 2,428 votes to Brewer's 2,127 in the second round of the ranked ballot election.

Kim Darwin, the third candidate in the race, was eliminated after the first round of voting.

In her victory speech Furstenau took aim at Premier John Horgan and rumours that the NDP leader is planning to call a snap election for the fall.

"To John Horgan I say you have a responsibility to govern, not play politics," she said. "This is not the time to dissolve the government ...  to grab more power for yourself."

Furstenau replaces Andrew Weaver, who stepped aside in January to sit as an independent in the legislature.

The Greens won three seats in the 2017 B.C. election and signed a power-sharing agreement giving the NDP a chance to form a minority government.

The deal means the Greens have been a factor in legislation and policy to ban large political donations while having a say on environmental and economic initiatives.

Furstenau said the B.C. Greens have proven that politics can be done differently and don't necessarily have to be divisive or hyper-partisan.

She also talked about the challenges she has faced as a woman in politics.

"Being a female leader in the country seem nearly unachievable," she said, noting there is only one female premier in Canada's 13 provinces and territories.

"It's disheartening but it strengthens my belief that to achieve lasting outcomes in good ways we must increase diversity in who we elect, and we must work across party lines and across jurisdictions. "

More than 85 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in the leadership election, according to Green Party officials.

with files from The Canadian Press

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