Dear BC Greens,
Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the lack of representation and diversity among candidates for this fall’s internal elections. We agree with you - we have failed to live up to our party’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in this internal election cycle.
This is part of a broader failure to properly prioritize and resource EDI in the party. For example, it is a reality that it takes more time to recruit women for political roles. Studies suggest that a woman has to be asked seven times to run in an election compared to one ask for a man. We did not create a recruitment timeline and action plan that would have accounted for this fact.
To address the specific situation of this fall’s internal elections, we explored delaying our internal elections to re-open nominations in the hopes of attracting candidates who reflect the diversity of the province, but this presents three problems: (1) we have not done the requisite work to recruit members of equity-seeking groups, and it is unlikely this delay would result in a different outcome; (2) new candidates would be at a considerable disadvantage because they would be entering the race long after the original candidates began campaigning, and we must provide everyone with an equal opportunity to succeed; and (3) we would not finish internal elections in time to replace outgoing Provincial Councilors, running the risk of leaving the party without a functioning Provincial Council that meets quorum.
This means that our 2022-23 Provincial Council will have limited representation for equity-seeking groups (three councilors identify as women, three councilors identify as BIPOC, and three councilors identify as LGBTQ2AI+, as well as one Ombuds who identifies as a woman), and it must reorient around inclusion and outreach for future appointments and our next round of internal elections. As a starting point, we have:
- Renewed the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (JEDI), appointing Nicola Spurling as its Chair;
- Agreed to create an EDI framework for the recruitment and election of party roles (including Provincial Council, ombuds and political candidates) including accountability mechanisms;
- Hired an EDI consultant to work with the JEDI committee on the EDI framework and other initiatives;
- Agreed to hire an EDI consultant to provide education for Provincial Council and internal elected positions;
Our leader, Sonia Furstenau, has made it clear she wants the BC Greens to be a welcoming and inclusive party. Respect for diversity is a core value of the party, and it should be central in all our work. We are sorry we have failed to live up to our values. We will do better.
Please do not hesitate to share your feedback on these initial steps ([email protected]); we welcome your input. We will continue to update you on our actions to do better.