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B.C. Conservatives aiming for top prize in 2024, while Greens hoping to triple seat count


For the first time in decades there were four official parties sitting in the B.C. legislature this year, sparking lively debates on a range of controversial topics.

CTV News sat down with the leader of the BC Conservatives, John Rustad, and the leader of the BC Greens, Sonia Furstenau, to get their takes on the fall session – and what they predict for their parties and the province going forward.

The BC Conservatives ended the fall session of the legislature surging in public opinion polls, in second place ahead of BC United. Leader John Rustad said those results didn’t surprise him.

"I think that’s what we are tapping into as the Conservative Party of British Columbia, is (that) we can do things differently,” said Rustad.

In fact, he says he's eyeing the top prize in the 2024 provincial election.

“We actually think were going to be challenging the NDP and David Eby’s government for government.”

The fall session saw the Conservatives generate plenty of controversy – pushing to eliminate SOGI, the sexual orientation and gender identity resource, from B.C. schools and pledging to scrap the government’s Clean BC plan and carbon taxes.

“David Eby’s approach is they want to tax you to poverty, because they want to change the weather, and I’m sorry, that doesn’t work for me – that doesn’t work for the people of British Columbia,” said Rustad.

He also fired shots at Eby over the NDP’s new suite of housing legislation and its handling of Surrey policing, calling the government “an authoritarian” one.

“David Eby’s approach is to come in and say, 'This is what you're going to do, we're going to override your city council, we’re going to override your official community plans,'” said Rustad.

The BC Conservative leader says he wouldn’t rule out a coalition of some sort with BC United in order to prevent vote splitting on the right, but wouldn’t compromise his party's policies.

“I’m certainly interested in having a conversation, whether it's with individuals or with the party,” he said.

Meanwhile, the BC Greens made headlines this fall with the removal of their deputy leader Dr. Sanjiv Gandhi, after revelations he liked a tweet comparing provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to Nazi doctor of death Josef Mengele.

“Mistakes are a time to learn for all of us, and to do better,” said Leader Sonia Fustenau, when asked about the controversy during her year-end interview.

Furstenau says she’s troubled by the emergence of policy pitches from BC United and the BC Conservatives to ditch fuel and carbon taxes.

“I just cannot understand how in 2023 we are in the position of debating in the B.C. legislature how serious climate change is,” said Furstenau.

And she's disappointed by the NDP’s limiting time for opposition to critique housing bills.

“[On] very significant legislation, the debate has been shut down by the NDP, so I’m concerned about that,” she said.

After repeatedly calling for Minister of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean to step down over problems in the foster care system, the Greens are calling for the role to be an appointed one, not filled by an MLA.

“We’re spending billions of dollars in our child welfare system every year in which children are suffering from neglect,” she said.

As for her party’s chances when voters go to the only polls next year, Furstenau is optimistic it will see growth.

“My hope and goal for the election is to at least double the number of Green seats in this house – ideally even triple.”

British Columbians will find out in the new year whether either leader achieves their goals. The election is set for October of 2024, and Eby has maintained he has no plans to call voters to the polls any earlier. Top Stories

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