Green leadership candidate Sonia Furstenau launched her economic platform on Feb. 28 (File photo)

Green leadership candidate Sonia Furstenau launched her economic platform on Feb. 28 (File photo)

Shorter work week, guaranteed income highlight Islander’s Green Party leadership campaign

Cowichan Valley Green MLA Sonia Furstenau seeking top job in provincial party

Does a shorter work week and a guaranteed income have any appeal to you?

They are two of the juicier planks announced by Vancouver Island MLA Sonia Furstenau as part of her economic platform as she guns for the leadership of the B.C. Green Party.

Furstenau, MLA for the Cowichan Valley, held her economic platform launch alongside scientist and environmental activist David Suzuki on Feb. 28 in Vancouver.

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She said the province is at a crucial moment in history where change is necessary, and with the right strategy, B.C. has the ability to be the most resilient, innovative economy in the world.

“We need to create an economic environment that supports smart risk-takers and creative problem solvers,” Furstenau said.

“To accomplish this, we must invest in our greatest resource: the people of B.C. Healthy citizens who can afford to live in their communities are the foundation of tomorrow’s resilient, innovative economy.”

Furstenau said this needs to start by updating how a healthy economy is measured.

Furstenau said she would adopt health and well being budgets with genuine progress indicators focused on economic, health, social and environmental factors, and require provincial ministries to justify spending in accordance with progress on these indicators.

She said she would scale up social program funding, with her priority programs including universal early childhood education and child care; public and post-secondary education; programs to achieve universal livable wages, such as a guaranteed livable income; demand and supply-side affordable housing measures; and mental health care.

“In consultation with business, labour and experts, I would introduce a comprehensive suite of policies to improve work-life balance and health and well being for workers, such as a shorter work week and modernized labour laws for independent contract workers,” Furstenau said.

She said the Liberals and the NDP continue to tout GDP growth, while B.C.’s affordability crisis makes headlines around the world.

“They subsidize divisive fossil fuel investments while investors increasingly sound the alarm about the need to centre climate change in our economic plans,” Furstenau said.

“This shows an astonishing lack of vision. British Columbians deserve a far smarter, more hopeful plan for their future. I’m running for leader of the B.C. Green Party because I know B.C. is just scratching the surface of our potential. It’s time to move past these outdated ways of thinking and embrace change.”

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