Sonia Furstenau

Leader of the BC Green Party and MLA for Cowichan Valley

Sonia Furstenau BC Green Caucus MLA
Born in Edmonton, Sonia Furstenau grew up with a strong sense of the importance of democracy. Her father escaped East Germany as a refugee in the 1950s, and her mother advocated for communities and the rights of women. From a young age she realized that democracy is something that must be nurtured and protected.
As a single mom at university, Sonia benefited from public investments in childcare and other programs. She completed her BA and MA in History at the University of Victoria. Deciding she wanted to invest in positive change as a teacher, Sonia pursued a Bachelor of Education degree. She worked as a teacher in the Victoria School District and in Shawnigan, where she taught History, English, and Theory of Knowledge.

Sonia has long been involved in grassroots advocacy. She was National Administrator for Results Canada, a non-profit that works to end extreme poverty, and she served on the Board of Directors for Oikocredit, an international microcredit organization. Sonia was a volunteer with Citizens Climate Lobby, which is committed to finding solutions to the challenge of climate change.

In 2013, Sonia learned that the BC government was considering granting a permit to a company to dump toxic soil near the source of her community’s drinking water in Shawnigan Lake. Responding to this threat, she brought her community together to fight for the protection of their drinking water and was elected as a Directory for the Cowichan Valley Regional District in 2014, a position she held for three years. After years of hard work and advocacy, Sonia’s community experienced a major win: the Ministry of the Environment revoked the permit in 2017.

From that experience, Sonia realized she wanted to continue fighting for the wellbeing of her community and decided to run for MLA. She was elected as the first B.C. Green MLA for Cowichan Valley in 2017 and helped negotiate the historic power-sharing agreement between the BC Greens and NDP that led to a cooperative government for three years.

In October 2018, she stood with the Environment Minister as they introduced legislation to reform the province’s use of professional reliance, the broken system that led to the Shawnigan permits being issued in the first place.

In 2020 Sonia was elected leader of the BC Greens and re-elected as the member for Cowichan Valley. As a Green MLA, Sonia has served as the lead spokesperson for seven different government files. She has successfully advocated for changes to the child welfare system; worked with the government to make reforms to environmental legislation and to develop childcare and early childhood education programs; and stood up against the government’s tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry. She has worked to address systemic racism and colonialism in government and advocate for improvements to the healthcare system across the province.

When not in Victoria, Sonia spends time with her husband Blaise and their children, enjoying the local arts, food, culture, and the many hiking trails of the Cowichan Valley.

Connect with Sonia

MLA Sonia Furstenau

Adam Olsen MLA for the BC Green Caucus


Adam Olsen

MLA for Saanich North and the Islands

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MLA Sonia Furstenau    
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