Esquimalt-based leader will stay to help Greens build infrastructure

Jane Sterk previously stated she would step down if she failed to get elected

The leader of the B.C. Green party no longer intends to step down, promising instead to help the party’s first MLA adjust to life in the legislature.

Jane Sterk said she was convinced to stay on as party leader at a May 15 meeting with MLA-elect Andrew Weaver, who made history by winning in Oak Bay-Gordon Head the night before, and the party’s executive director and chair.

“We have to sort out what Andrew’s role will be and how the party and I can support him in that role,” Sterk said. “Since we’ve never had a candidate elected, it will take some time to figure out what that’s going to look like.”

Weaver will likely hire four staff members and begin setting up his constituency office in the coming weeks, said Sterk, who took 38 per cent of the vote in Victoria-Beacon Hill last week but failed to clinch the seat. Incumbent NDP MLA Carole James received nearly 49 per cent support to retain her stronghold in that electoral district.

Despite her personal defeat, Sterk said the Greens are reinvigorated by Weaver’s win and are already focused on the upcoming byelection in which Premier Christy Clark will seek a return to the legislature.

Clark lost her seat in Vancouver-Point Grey to the NDP’s David Eby on election night by 785 votes, but she will remain B.C. Liberal leader. The byelection date has not yet been announced.

The Greens plan to create constituency associations across the province and increase their membership base, building on the success of Weaver in the coming years.

“Everybody is absolutely thrilled that it was Andrew who got elected because he is a scientist, he has that evidence-based decision-making perspective, and that makes him a stronger MLA than if he was coming from a highly partisan position,” Sterk said.

“We’re looking forward to this being a stepping stone to much more success for the party.”

dpalmer@vicnews.com