Sonia Furstenau

Sonia Furstenau
Leader of the Green Party of British Columbia
Assumed office
September 14, 2020
Preceded byAdam Olsen (interim)
Deputy Leader of the Green Party of British Columbia
In office
November 2, 2016 – September 14, 2020
Serving with Jonina Campbell
LeaderAndrew Weaver
Preceded byAdam Olsen
Succeeded byTBD
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Cowichan Valley
Assumed office
May 9, 2017
Preceded byBill Routley
Personal details
Born1970/1971 (age 50–51)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Political partyGreen Party of British Columbia
ResidenceShawnigan Lake, British Columbia
Alma materUniversity of Victoria
ProfessionHigh school teacher

Sonia Furstenau is a Canadian politician who is currently the leader of the Green Party of British Columbia.[1]

Furstenau was raised in Edmonton, the child of German immigrants. She attended McKernan Elementary/Junior-High School, where she was in Grade 2 in 1977-78. She went on a trip to Germany with her father, including his native East Germany, where she learned to appreciate the value of democracy by observing the lack of it. She later helped her mother protest against dumping in the vicinity of Elk Island National Park in the early 1990s.[2]

Furstenau attended the University of Victoria starting at age 20, attaining an MA in History and a Bachelor of Education. After teaching in Victoria-area schools, her work took her to Shawnigan Lake in 2011. Here she encountered the dumping of toxic soil close to the water supply, which led her to citizen involvement and to becoming a director of the Cowichan Valley Regional District (see below).[3]

Furstenau was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in the 2017 provincial election to represent the electoral district of Cowichan Valley.[4] On November 2, 2016, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver announced that Furstenau would replace Adam Olsen as one of the deputy leaders of the party. On January 27, 2020, Furstenau announced her candidacy for the leadership of the party.[5][6]

In 2014, Furstenau started her political career when she was elected to serve as a director of Electoral Area B within the Cowichan Valley Regional District. This was after two years working with the Shawnigan Resident's Association to protest and appeal a British Columbia Provincial permit that allowed the siting of a landfill on the banks of the community's source of drinking water, Shawnigan Lake.

Prior to holding elected office, Furstenau was a high school teacher in Victoria and Shawnigan Lake. She has a BA and MA in History from the University of Victoria.[7]

Electoral record

2020 British Columbia general election: Cowichan Valley
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Green Sonia Furstenau 13,059 44.21 +6.97 Filing extension granted
New Democratic Rob Douglas 11,875 40.20 +8.57 $55,431.43
Liberal Tanya Kaul 4,606 15.59 −12.07 $15,360.48
Total valid votes 29,540 100.00
Total rejected ballots    
Registered voters
Source: Elections BC[8][9]
2017 British Columbia general election: Cowichan Valley
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Green Sonia Furstenau 11,449 37.24 +18.09 $35,322
New Democratic Lori Lynn Iannidinardo 9,723 31.63 −8.51 $54,416
Liberal Steve Housser 8,502 27.66 −7.24 $70,112
Independent Ian Morrison 502 1.63 $8,140
Libertarian James Robert Anderson 302 0.98 $398
Independent Samuel Lockhart 145 0.47 $0
Independent Eden Haythornthwaite 119 0.39 $996
Total valid votes 30,742 100.00
Total rejected ballots 100 0.33 +0.01
Turnout 30,842 67.58 +5.68
Registered voters 45,641
Source: Elections BC[10][11]


  1. ^ "Sonia Furstenau elected new B.C. Green Party leader". CBC News. 14 September 2020. Retrieved 14 September 2020.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Greens celebrate 'historic' B.C. wins amid minority uncertainty". CBC News British Columbia, May 10, 2017.
  5. ^ CBC News (27 January 2020). "Sonia Furstenau announces she's running for leader of B.C. Green Party". CBC News. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  6. ^ CTV News (27 January 2020). "Sonia Furstenau to run for BC Green Party leadership". CTV News. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  7. ^ Sonia Furstenau
  8. ^ "2020 Provincial General Election Final Voting Results". Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  9. ^ "Search Results: 2020 General Elections Financing Reports". Elections BC. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  10. ^ "2017 Provincial General Election - Statement of Votes" (PDF). Elections BC. Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  11. ^ "Election Financing Reports". Elections BC. Retrieved 12 September 2020.