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Greens critical of former leader who defected to BC Liberals

B.C. Green Party leader Jane Sterk doesn't have much good to say about former interim Green leader Christopher Ian Bennett, who quit the Greens yesterday to join the BC Liberals.

Bennett was the controversial leader appointed by the Green Party after longtime leader Adriane Carr resigned to become federal Green deputy leader under Elizabeth May.

Sterk said she wasn't surprised by Bennett's defection.

"Some people fail to truly understand the Green Movement, especially those who play comfortably in the dysfuntional political system that characterizes British Columbia, as Christopher does," Sterk said.

"Throughout Christopher's brief term [May to October of 2007] as Interim Leader, many Greens thought his views and policy positions were more congruent with the B.C. Liberals than with the Green Party of B.C. So this should be a more comfortable home for Christopher."

Bennett replied in an email.

"I consider Jane Sterk to be an exceptional leader," Bennett wrote. "I haven't a negative thing to say about her or the provincial party."

"But alas," Bennett continued, "the Green tent was not big enough for me and my often centrist or even right wing ideals across some platforms. There didn't seem to be much room for anyone who navigated outside the very leftist and often activist agenda that has dominated the party for so long."

Bennett added, "I feel that those who consider the environment a top priority will find a new and emerging champion in Premier Campbell and his team. Without question he is the 'greenest' Premier we've had in B.C."

Sterk doesn't think anyone who is a true Green could ever vote for Campbell and his party.

"The goals of the two parties are so fundamentally different that no-one who understands Green Principles and Policy would vote for the B.C. Liberals," she said.

Bennett – who was once described as "Wonder Boy" in a public relations news release uncovered by Sean Holman of Public Eye Online – was at odds with many in the Green Party several times during his tenure as leader.

Bill Tieleman comments on B.C. politics for 24 Hours and CKNW.

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