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BC Greens make political breakthrough

Party leadership not on the radar for newly minted MLA
Andrew Weaver-election night
Green party leader Jane Sterk

While most Greater Victoria campaign parties were subdued at best, there were smiles all around at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel where the first provincially elected Green party member, Andrew Weaver held his celebration.

Gary Wright’s 1976 hit Dream Weaver pumped from the speakers just before party leader Jane Sterk took the stage to introduce the green’s golden boy.

“Andrew will be a tremendous MLA,” she said, before slamming Liberal plans for several liquified natural gas plants. Earlier in the night Sterk, who lost Victoria-Beacon Hill to NDP incumbent Carole James, told the News: “One Green seat, as we’ve seen federally, is a breakthrough and will be provincially as well.”

Weaver was welcomed to the stage with boisterous applause and with apologies to his assistant for going off script spent his victory speech thanking his volunteers.

Weaver, who is a climate scientist, Lansdowne Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Victoria, said he was shocked at the Liberals’ majority win and excited about his own.

“I’m not going to come in off the bat making strong statements and policy,” said Weaver. “I’ve got to learn what the position is from the inside out. Build strength in my voice by getting a background of what’s there.”

Weaver said his campaign drew support from across the political spectrum.

“You can see that in the fact that the sitting cabinet minister Ida Chong finished (second). … The Conservative candidate, he did a lot of work, but he didn’t really draw from the Liberals, and the NDP numbers also came our way.”

Weaver sees a ban on oil tanker traffic, health care costs and poverty as the top issues in Oak Bay-Gordon Head and the region.

Leadership of the B.C. Greens remains to be seen in the days and weeks ahead. Sterk, who was elected leader in 2007, says she’ll meet with the chair and council to “talk about what is the best strategy going forward.”

She previously stated she would step down if she lost this election, but Green party members have encouraged her to stay, she said, citing the strides made under her leadership.

“Success is seductive … the message of the Green party that got out under my leadership in this campaign is exciting,” Sterk said.

“I don’t think she should resign because frankly she’s been at this for many years,” said Weaver. “I would still like to serve under her leadership. She knows the Green book inside and out. I’m happy to continue as an MLA, I have enough work on my plate over the next few months to keep me busy. I would really like her to stay as the leader of the Green party.”