A Warm Visit about the Cold War

Friday, March 17, 2017 - By: Maddie B, Hope ‘19

In February, Sonia Furstenau from the Green Party of BC visited Brentwood for an afternoon to speak to Mr. Cowie’s Socials 10 class. She came to talk about her opinions on Canadian politics, her role in the Green Party, and shared some personal stories about her family in WWII and the Cold War. 

As the CVRD Area Director of the Cowichan Valley and BC Green Party candidate, she has a very strong voice on many local issues. She has done many things for her community and has admirably supported and protected the voices of her residents. Sonia talked to us about her values and everything that has led her to become active in public life. She has provided clarity and leadership for the Cowichan Valley District and also taken on roles fighting against contaminated soil dumping in the Shawnigan Lake watershed. To represent the values of her constituents as strongly as she can, she works across jurisdictions and agencies in British Columbia. Being educated and having connections, along with caring for her community and environment, is what helps her be a proud candidate for the Green Party in the Cowichan Valley. 

Sonia’s father came to Canada from Germany in 1959. He didn’t speak any English prior to coming to Canada and spent the whole voyage learning the language from an English newspaper and an English-to-German dictionary. By the time he arrived it wasn’t perfect, but he did know enough to get around and his speaking improved over time. He studied at UVIC and joined the school’s first graduating class ever in 1963. After graduation, he went on to be a professor, then set up a transfer programme in Edmonton. 

In 1980, Sonia’s father took her to East Germany with him because he thought as as a German citizen, if he brought his Canadian daughter with him, that it would be easier to get back into Canada. Sonia said her memories of their visit to East Germany are “all in black and white”. It appeared as though the war had happened within the last year, (rather than decades before) due to the fact that no one had bothered to clean up the mess. There were still tanks and piles of concrete from knocked down buildings lying around. This left Sonia with a very unsettling feeling knowing how hard it is for a country to move on after a tragedy this great, and she would never want that to happen to Canada. Later on, seeing Germany helped her to motivate herself to protect her country and fight for what’s right for British Columbia.

Having Furstenau come speak to our class has answered a bunch of our questions related to topics we are learing in class such as politics and the Cold War. We thank her for coming in to talk to us and wish her the best of luck in the May BC Provincial election. 

Maddie B, Hope ‘19

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