Lia Versaevel is the B.C. Green Party candidate for the Nanaimo riding. (Submitted/file photo)

Versaevel representing B.C. Green Party in Nanaimo riding

Candidate ran for the Greens in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding in 2017

Nanaimo’s candidate for the B.C. Green Party doesn’t think a provincial election was needed, but since it’s happening, she’s hoping for another split legislature that will put shared responsibilities on parties to co-operate.

Lia Versaevel was announced last week as the Green candidate for the Nanaimo riding.

The Ladysmith resident ran in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding in the last provincial election in 2017, but has worked throughout the mid Island in recent years. She works for the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society as a poverty law advocate, focusing on residential tenancy issues.

Versaevel said the premier’s reasons for an election were weak, saying that if the government wanted stability, it could have had it by carrying on until fall 2021.

“I think it really could have waited. It’s not as though we don’t have 101 other things on our plates right now,” Versaevel said. “And Nanaimo in particular, I don’t know how many elections we’ve been through in the last two years … people are fatigued with that.”

She said although campaigning in a COVID-19 pandemic will be different, there are more means of electronic communication than ever to try to connect with voters and it’s a matter of taking advantage. That said, she’s concerned that people who are in long-term care homes or who have compromised health, for example, will be left out of the process – both the campaign and the actual voting.

“It kind of smacks of voter suppression and a real infringement on people’s rights to be able to participate in the democratic process,” she said.

Versaevel said one of the issues on her mind, with the pandemic now in a second phase, is the safety of schools. She hopes a split legislature can lead to further work across the three parties to come up with ways to make schools safer for teachers and students.

She noted that new party leader Sonia Furstenau was thrust into a provincial election before her business cards had been printed, but said the Green leader isn’t one to back down from a fight.

“She’s a great role model and I’m really encouraged that she’s won the leadership … she’ll do well,” Versaevel said.

Versaevel is up against NDP incumbent Sheila Malcolmson and B.C. Liberals candidate Kathleen Jones in the Nanaimo riding.

In the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding, candidates include Doug Routley, B.C. NDP incumbent; Duck Paterson for the B.C. Liberals and Chris Istace representing the B.C. Greens.

In Parksville-Qualicum, which includes areas of north Nanaimo, there are five candidates: Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberal Party incumbent; Adam Walker, NDP; Rob Lyon, Green Party; Don Purdey, Conservatives; and John St. John, independent.

Election day is Oct. 24.

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