05/11/2013 12:48 EDT

Jane Sterk Biography: 5 Surprising Things About The BC Green Leader


Green Party Leader Jane Sterk has been on the B.C. political scene since 2007, but British Columbians still don't seem to know that much about her.

She has made her strongest impression in this election campaign. She gained praise for her performance in a live CKNW radio debate, in which she took Premier Christy Clark to task for cancelling funding to the University of B.C.'s Therapeutics Initiative, which evaluated drugs for PharmaCare, Maclean's reported.

She was on the attack again in the leaders TV debate, saying that Clark admitted the Site C hydro project was to power the liquid natural gas (LNG) industry, and not generate electricity for British Columbians.

But that's just what we've seen of Sterk in the campaign. Who is she, really? What got her into politics? And how deeply is she committed to the environment?

Here are five surprising things about Green Party Leader Jane Sterk:

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Businesswoman: In 1983, she and a partner opened Softwarehouse West in Edmonton, Alberta, a business that employed 60 people, CBC reported.

Sailor: In 1997, she and her husband retired to Vancouver Island, where they learned to sail, with the intention of taking a boat around the world. They only ever made it as far as Cape Flattery, Washington, CBC reported.

Sustainable Councillor: She was a councillor for the Township of Esquimalt from 2005 to 2008 and was the council's lone "green" voice, The Tyee reported. She championed initiatives such as using steam instead of chemicals to control weeds on the city's sidewalks, her Green Party biography states.

Marijuana Advocate: She once said in an interview with the Georgia Straight that she could see marijuana sold in liquor store-type outlets, with the drug controlled and regulated just like alcohol and tobacco.

Professor: Outside her political life, she has taught Business Environment and Organizational Behaviour at University Canada West, her Green Party biography says.