05/07/2013 11:29 EDT | Updated 07/07/2013 05:12 EDT

Greens Eye Official Party Status In Upcoming B.C. Election


Green Party of B.C. Leader Jane Sterk is perhaps the least well-known of all the party leaders — but her party has the most potential ground to gain when British Columbians head to the polls next week.

In many ways, Sterk doesn’t come across like the average politician — she’s not slick or smooth and her campaign lacks polish.

But the party leader says that’s a good thing.

“None of us see ourselves as politicians,” she told CBC legislative bureau chief Stephen Smart, who spent a day with the party leader.

“We see ourselves as change agents, as people that are willing to go in and try and influence the decisions of government as opposed to wanting power for the sake of power."

Sterk has less experience in politics than the other party leaders, who have all been elected before. She first ran for the Green Party in the riding of Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca in the 2004 federal election before becoming a councillor in the township of Esquimalt.

Sterk and the Green Party say their goal is official party status, which means getting four MLAs elected. But getting just one seat in the legislature would be a major breakthrough for the party.

That's why the party is focusing its efforts on southern Vancouver Island, where Sterk is taking on former NDP leader Carole James in the riding of Victoria-Beacon Hill.

“We decided I would run in the riding that had the most potential.”

A conscience in the legislature

But the party might have a better shot in neighbouring ridings, namely Oak Bay-Gordon Head, where Nobel-winning climate scientist Andrew Weaver is representing the Green Party.

"We're really pleased,” he said. “It's exciting. It's been a really, really solid campaign. The momentum is building, there's a lot of volunteers, a lot of enthusiasm."

The party also stands a chance with candidate Adam Olsen in Saanich North and the Islands.

He believes federal Green Party MP Elizabeth May’s recent win in Saanich-Gulf Islands has opened the door for a provincial breakthrough.

"People are realizing that the message is good, the candidates are good and we have an opportunity to put a conscience in that legislature like we've got in Ottawa."

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