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Greens seeking winnable ridings, talking to disaffected MLAs

The British Columbia Green Party is looking for constituencies where leader Jane Sterk and other candidates would have an increased chance of winning a seat in the next provincial election.

“I think we could certainly say we're analyzing several ridings that may provide us a better opportunity to win,” said leader Jane Sterk. “I'm in it to get elected . . . I'm ready for a win.”

The constituencies include two on southern Vancouver Island where there is likely to be a four-way split that would allow Sterk or another Green to win with a relatively small share of the popular vote: Saanich North and the Islands, currently held by Liberal Murray Coell, and Oak Bay-Gordon Head, won last election by Liberal Ida Chong.

“We believe that we have to focus resources on ridings where there's a potential we could capitalize under the kind of split you can see under first past the post,” said Sterk. “We need to be strategic and we need to win.”

In 2009 Sterk ran in Esquimalt-Royal Roads, a New Democratic Party stronghold where she placed a distant third despite her profile as a city councillor.

Another way for the party to gain a stronger voice would be to pick up MLAs who are already elected. Sterk said she's doing outreach to Bob Simpson, who last week was ejected from Carole James' opposition NDP caucus.

“I do think there are people in the NDP caucus who are greens,” said Sterk, adding that anyone who joins the party would have to understand what makes the Greens different, including their support for a steady-state economy. “There are about five or six people who are in the NDP who feel to me like they are more alligned with Green Party policies and principles.”

Sterk has also had Liberals approach her about switching parties, she said. And while she doesn't want to be known as someone who poaches from other parties, she said, “There's a part of me that believes the Green Party needs a break.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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