Lia Versaevel of Cowichan will run as the Green candidate for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford. (Submitted)

UPDATED: Lia Versaevel nominated as Green candidate for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding

Green Party of Canada members voted between three candidates

  • Aug. 23, 2021 12:00 a.m.

The Greens have chosen Lia Versaevel as their candidate for the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford riding from among three hopefuls.

In a virtual vote, party members landed on Versaevel, who previously ran as a candidate for the Green Party of BC for the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding in the provincial election in 2017.

The 65-year-old worked for the B.C. government as a correctional officer, peace officer, probation officer and family justice counsellor, and earned a masters degree in conflict analysis and management from Royal Roads University in 2007. Versaevel lives in Chemainus.

She moved to the Island in 1971, attended Victoria’s Claremont High School and completed a BA and Diploma at the University of Victoria, before going on to Royal Roads.

Versaevel also worked in a mediation role in the State of Nevada.

She is a former chairperson of the party’s Cowichan-Malahat-Langford Electoral District Association, and she stood in 2019 as a federal nomination contestant.

Versaevel has three children and three grandchildren.

She said people should never underestimate her as she has been fighting for Greens in all levels of government for more than a decade, and the Cowichan-Malahat-Langford Green Electoral District is one of the biggest in Canada, with more than 450 current members.

Versaevel said that the recent wildfires within the riding and across Canada are drawing attention to the extent of the ongoing drought.

“Farmers are seeing their crops cook on the vine and in the fields before they can be harvested,” she said.

“Chicken, beef and dairy farmers here in this riding are struggling to keep animal herds healthy and alive. We must ramp up our environmental targets, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and acidification of the oceans. Food security is essential for Vancouver Island. Agriculture Canada must develop a comprehensive food security plan for all Canadians and ramp up efforts to meet the Paris targets much sooner.”

Versaevel said Canada has a lot of work to do in regards to justice.

She said the RCMP is being deployed to attack, arrest and deter peaceful forest defenders here in Cowichan-Malahat-Langford.

“Penelakut has revealed 161 unmarked graves at the site of the former Kuper Island Residential School, and we are far from addressing the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Versaevel said.

“The current MP remains silent on the arrest of over 700 forest defenders at Fairy Creek, even though he has been the justice critic for his party. Elders, youth and people of all stages of life are seeking protection of watersheds and ancient forests. Our right to peaceful protest is under attack.”

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Goldstream News Gazette