Media Statement – May 13, 2015
Green MLA Tables Bill to Give British Columbians Stronger Say on Oil Pipelines
For Immediate Release
Victoria, B.C. – Today, Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Deputy Leader of the B.C. Green Party tabled the Recall and Initiative Amendment Act to give British Columbians a stronger voice on how oil pipeline proposals are evaluated in the province.
“It is clear that British Columbians are concerned about oil pipelines and have lost confidence in the federal review process,” said Andrew Weaver. “The problem is, the tools we have to make our voices heard are too restrictive. My bill would make it easier for British Columbians to make their voices heard.”
Under the existing Recall and Initiative Act an individual can put forward a bill to be either debated in the legislature or put up for a non-binding referendum. To be successful, the proponent must collect signatures from 10% of registered voters in each of the 85 electoral districts within 90 days.
“The requirement to have support from all electoral districts means that any individual riding can essentially prevent a popular initiative from being successful. In the case of regional issues, this is a significant restriction,” says Weaver.
Dr. Weaver’s Recall and Initiative Amendment Act would change the electoral district requirement for initiatives that specifically address pulling out of the Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreements that govern the federal pipeline reviews. Successful petitions in these instances would require signatures from 15% of registered voters in British Columbia, regardless of electoral district, making it easier to meet the requirements.
If an initiative were to pass under the proposed changes, it would require the B.C. government to pull out of the existing Environmental Assessment Equivalency Agreement for a particular project and hold its own made-in-B.C. review of the oil pipeline.
“Just last month, people in Vancouver saw first hand how unprepared we are for an oil spill. It’s clear from the federal hearings on the Trans Mountain pipeline that these concerns aren’t being adequately addressed. My bill would make it easier for British Columbians to require their provincial government to hold a made-in-B.C. hearing process on oil pipelines.”
Press Secretary – Andrew Weaver, MLA
Cell: 250 216 3382
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