Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau visited Smithers. (Josh Casey photo)

Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau visited Smithers. (Josh Casey photo)

Green Party MLA visited Smithers

Sonia Furstenau makes Smithers a destination on her northern tour.

  • Aug. 3, 2017 7:00 p.m.

Read the full story in the Aug. 2 edition of The Interior News.

Green Party MLA Sonia Furstenau was in Smithers last Monday as part of her northern community visit.

Furstenau and her husband are touring this summer to better understand the communities that are in the province.

As part of her visit, Furstenau is listening to the concerns of the northern communities.

“I’m here to listen; I’m here to find out what these different communities up here would like to see from the provincial government. I don’t see it as my job to push an agenda up here, I really see it as my job to listen to communities and to support what communities want to see for their own futures.”

She met with Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach and council members.

“Sitting with the mayor today and meeting with the council just now, the wealth of information and perspective is fantastic,” said Furstenau. “What was interesting in the conversations with the mayor is the economic diversity as well as the social diversity, the cultural diversity that you have here and I think the strong sense of place that the community has, really makes this a wonderful little town.”

Visiting the northern communities help Furstenau with her job, she said.

“As one of three [Green] MLAs, we all have a number of files that we’re critics on because we’re in opposition and to inform our work, for me in particular to inform my work on those critic files and one of mine is Environment, another one is Ministry of Children and Health, another one is Health, Education — it really helps me to get to know other communities and to have a wider perspective than just my own communities.”

What the Green Party and NDP agreement means

“I think what we’re going to see in this legislature are times when the NDPs and the Liberals vote together, times when the NDPs and the Greens vote together and times when the Greens and the Liberals vote together and that’s the best thing for democracy is when all MLAs and all of the parties can contribute to making good legislation for the province,” said Furstenau

The two parties disagree on LNG, with the NDP supporting a very regulated industry and the Greens wanting to move away from it completely.

“It works fine because that’s not a confidence issue and also it means that if the NDP want to work with the Liberals on that issue, they can work with the Liberals. We ran on a set of principles and on evidence-based decision making which is really important for us,” stated Furstenau.

Mine tailings were a topic with Smithers council and Furstenau.

“If we want to have a vibrant thriving mining industry, we need to ensure that it is property regulated and that it is being done in a way doesn’t leave long-term negative impacts. You don’t want the mine to come in, reap it’s profit, leave a big mess and then have the taxpayers have to pay for the cleanup of that mess. What you want is a system where the mining company, the mining industry is responsible for the entire package,” she said.

Smithers Interior News