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West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Jordan Sturdy to retire

Sturdy has served as MLA for the riding since 2013, and narrowly held the seat in the 2020 snap election against a green challenge
Sea to Sky MLA Jordan Sturdy.

Longtime West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA, Jordan Sturdy, will not seek a fourth term in the upcoming provincial election.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an elected official,” he said in an interview with Pique.

“I still have my farm, and I am now at a place where I need to take it to the next level, and to figure out how to transition it into the next generation. That requires all of my attention.”

Sturdy, who sits as a BC United MLA, was first elected in 2013, and re-elected in 2017 and 2020 as a BC Liberal, BC United’s previous iteration. Before that, he was the Mayor of Pemberton, where he still lives.

Sturdy said he never intended to be an elected official, but it was just how things worked out.

“It was a set of circumstances that brought me in in the first place,” he said, before shifting to talking about his popular family farm in Pemberton, North Arm Farm, which received 80,000 visitors in 2023.

“It’s a big operation, and really my wife and one of my daughters have taken the lion's share of the responsibility over the last couple of years. It has been difficult to navigate through all of the demands on my life, and so I think that my future is not in politics, my future is on my farm in Pemberton.”

Asked about achievements during his 11 years as MLA, Sturdy said he was most proud of helping people.

“Much of what we do is of a more private and personal manner in that we’re continually approached by constituents about issues that they have with the provincial government, with provincial policy—with the federal government, for that matter—and much of what we do never sees the light of day.

“It’s about helping people solve problems, and that is overall very gratifying, useful, and practical work. That’s probably the most important aspect of what we do.”

He pointed to the introduction of a cumulative effects assessment framework for Howe Sound as a major win.

“It is a really important thing that will help us understand and ensure the biodiversity and health of Howe Sound continues to move in a positive direction,” he said. “That was a tool that was not previously used in a place like Howe Sound, so bringing that to this area was very important.”

A regret, however, was a long-term failure to move the needle on introducing a regional transit service—an item that has long been on the wishlist of the regional community.

“I thought we were getting there, and it just seems to keep falling off the table,” he said.

“I did meet with the premier this summer and I was quite optimistic after that meeting. We’ll see when the budget rolls around if there’s additional resources for transit or not, and whether they begin to adopt legislation that would make that happen.”

Sturdy’s retirement opens up the race for the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding, which was a close three-way race in 2020. Sturdy won the riding by only 60 votes following a judicial recount, fending off BC Green candidate Jeremy Valeriote (who is running again in 2024).

He will bow out of politics during a time when BC United is low in the polls while the two-term NDP government holds a solid lead, with BC United facing challenges on its right flank from the resurgent Conservative Party of BC.

BC United is yet to announce who will run for Sturdy’s seat, but he said he is encouraging all potential candidates to throw their hat into the ring.

“Win, lose or draw, it's a worthwhile endeavour,” he said

Asked whether he’d do it all over again, Sturdy said yes, but maybe not for quite as long.

“Honestly, I wasn’t intending to run in 2020, but it was a snap election and I couldn’t really walk from it at the time,” he said. “It had always been my intention to step aside.”

He did say his time helped him develop some opinions on term limits as a way to continually usher in fresh blood.

“I think there’s some real value in us thinking about what that looks like. I think we do need fresh ideas, we do need a new perspective on things,” he said.

“We also need to make sure people are not running with the sole objective of being re-elected. Obviously if you’re not elected you can't effect change, but if your whole identity is integral to your political career, then if you lose that position, you lose your identity and you become lost, so people can become desperate to win, [so] their decisions are not necessarily made for the right reason.

“Whereas if you had term limits, then there’s nothing to lose. It’s easier to make the right decision when you have no skin in the game. You’re going to be gone anyway, so make the good decision, not the one that’s expedient, or that’s going to create opportunity for yourself.”

Asked about the upcoming election, Sturdy said he believes B.C. needs change, and he will be encouraging locals to vote BC United.

“I don’t believe this government is on the right track. There may have been some good decisions, but at the same time our outcomes are deteriorating,” he said.

Sturdy cited health-care and transportation as major sticking points, criticizing delays with the Massey Tunnel replacement, the Pattullo Bridge replacement being so slow, and the Broadway subway being over budget and behind schedule.

“It just goes on and on … they really haven’t accomplished a thing,” besides double the provincial debt, he added.

“In seven years they’ve doubled what it took every single government that preceded them to accumulate prior. Yet what are the outcomes?”

“When you look at the bigger-picture issues of right track, wrong track—the majority thinks we’re on the wrong track on the major issues. Whether the government has worn their welcome out yet, I guess we’ll see in October.”

The provincial election will be held on or before Oct.19, 2024.