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Media Statement: October 27th, 2016
Weaver Calls for the Resignation of B.C. Minister of Environment
For Immediate Release

Victoria, B.C. – “I do not call for this lightly. I have spent my career in the climate science field advising provincial, federal, and international governments on their climate policies. Never in my life have I witnessed a government using such outrageous rhetoric to describe subpar efforts to protect the environment,” said Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head and Leader of the B.C. Green Party.

“The ministry’s responsibilities have too often been neglected, forcing citizens to step in and try to protect the environment themselves. British Columbians have been left investigating and mitigating the impacts of environmental tragedies like what happened at the Mt. Polley mine, the Shawnigan contaminated soil facility, and the Bella Bella diesel spill with their own time and money, often employing the courts to force the Ministry to do their job,” said Weaver. “This government’s policy continues to put vested and private interests ahead of their responsibilities they have to the people of British Columbia.

“I now lack confidence in Minister Polak to uphold the obligations outlined in her ministerial mandate letter. As such, I am calling for her to be replaced by a minister who will stand up for the people of B.C. and the water and environment that we all rely on.

“The absence of a real climate policy, the reaction to the Mount Polley tailings pond breach, and the repeated compliance failures at the Shawnigan contaminated soil facility with no real ministerial response are egregious examples that I have tried to work with the Ministry on,” said Weaver. “The Minister’s failed response to the diesel spill in Heiltsuk Territory is the last straw for me.

“It is appalling that the B.C. Liberals can look British Columbians in the eye and tell them that they have a climate leadership plan. They are not climate leaders, and they don’t even have a plan. At least when Mr. Harper was Prime Minister we knew where he stood on environmental protection. Premier Clark and the Minister of Environment claim one thing and does the complete opposite.”

Sonia Furstenau, CVRD Director and BC Green Party candidate for Cowichan Valley is equally frustrated with the impacts provincial policy is having on her community.  “In Shawnigan, we are experiencing first-hand the downside of this government’s insistence on ‘getting to yes’ at all costs.  The people of Shawnigan are suffering from ongoing stress and anxiety while the Ministry of Environment allows for ongoing non-compliance with the contaminated landfill permit, and compounding failures at the site. This ministry promised the community that all water leaving this site would meet the strictest aquatic and drinking water guidelines, and already, 20 months into the permit, levels of toluene, copper, iron, manganese, aluminum and more have exceeded these guidelines.”

Furstenau has consistently urged the Minister to act. “Under the Environmental Management Act, misrepresentation during permit application stage and ongoing non-compliance since this company began operations gives the Minister more than adequate grounds to revoke this permit.  If she won’t use her authority to revoke this permit and protect the people of Shawnigan Lake, she should step down.


Media Contacts

Mat Wright
Press Secretary for MLA Andrew Weaver
250 216 3382

Sonia Furstenau
250 812 6136


  1. Dave-
    October 30, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I suggest that when you form government you appoint your choice for minister.

  2. Arleta Keppler-
    October 29, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    We the people should force the incompetent Ministry out by recall & then vote this terrible travesty of a Party out with in election of 2017!

  3. Gary-
    October 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. Get rid of this so called “Minister”. Her of ignorance can only be overshadowed by the incompetance of her party. Their so called “World Class Spill Response” is nothing short of shameful, likened to keystone cops protecting our neighbourhoods. The only legacy these morons will leave is a legacy for our children to clean up. Enough is enough!!!

  4. DTS-
    October 28, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Highly unlikely she will step down but a popular recall could be effective.

  5. Madison Southwell-
    October 28, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Thank you thank you thank you for standing up for what is right. We the people are so very grateful! THANK YOU!

  6. Lars Friis-
    October 28, 2016 at 9:22 am

    I absolutely agree that Mary Polak and HER Ministry of Environment are completely incompetent, corrupt, and not at all fit for this very important position. How she has remained there is a testament against the Opposition, and to the crony filled BC Lieberal Cabinet, who seem to be able to run roughshod over a flabbergasted electorate. Our Grandchildren will still be cleaning up after this administration, and that’s a Testament to how WE allowed this to happen to THEM!! Shawnigan Lake and Mt Polly are great examples of many “infractions”.

  7. Teagan Kelk-
    October 28, 2016 at 1:40 am

    Thank you Andrew!

  8. Sage-
    October 27, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you for taking a stand. The Environmental Minister is a total disgrace and should rightfully face criminal charges for the tragic situation the community of Shawnigan Lake is facing.

  9. Paul Schmidt-
    October 27, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Do you really think any of the lackeys in Christy Clark’s cabal would do any better than Mary Polak? Turf the bunch! Stop the lunacy! Quash the permit! Bravo. Sonia and Andrew for fighting for Shawnigan Lake.

    • October 27, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      While I agree that we need to change government. I would suggest that Terry Lake might be able to do the right thing over the next few months. He is not running again.

  10. Richard Holmes-
    October 27, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Well said Andrew Weaver. I live in Likely 18 minutes from the mine disaster here where the Liberal (??) government continues to be apologists for the mine. Not only is Quesnel Lake hosting millions of cubic metres of tailings due to the disaster but the government continues to allow mine waste water to be discharged into the lake utilizing a 100 m. zone for dilution to meet WQG…….simply another mining subsidy…..and the long term plan is to continue with this. Shareholders are more important in the eyes of this government than the local residents who call this area their home……shameful and disgusting. A government long past their shelf life and it would be great to see mining companies with a community and environmental conscience. Disgraceful and this legacy will follow them …not only for the disaster but for what both the mine and government did thereafter.

  11. Michael Nutland-
    October 27, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Would it be too much to ask the entire BC Liberal (read Conservative) caucus to resign?
    If so, we have the opportunity to sack them next May.

  12. Sharon H-
    October 27, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Make that revocation process not revolution!!

  13. Sharon H-
    October 27, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Could not agree more. Absolutely appalling situation in BC. I do not understand what it would take further for the revocation of the shawnigan lake permit. Shoddy science? Check. Impropriety and a flawed process? Check. Non-compliance on the environmental regulations that do exist? Check. Local government opposition? Check. Deep community opposition? Check. Is there even a revolution process or is this government only in the business of granting these projects?

  14. Frances Pugh-
    October 27, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    These are the “big ticket” items. There is also a trophy hunt that continues for little value, to kill BC’s wildlife for no reason other than ego. This at a time when wildlife is disappearing at an unprecedented rate and 2/3 of the planet’s wildlife is likely to be gone by 2020.

  15. Barbara Cooper-
    October 27, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    We have an Environment Minister? Could have fooled me. I thought Christy got rid of that service/protection for the People of BC too. So where has this “Minister” been through the unlawful clear-cutting, open net salmon farms, pollution, pipe lines, etc.???

  16. Steve-
    October 27, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    You can’t eat “tailings” but you can eat fish/seafood Tailings kills the habitat … what do we have? … a destroyed environment and culture
    Environment first people second … destructive industry a distant last.

  17. Sharon Elliott-
    October 27, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    I agree with your position 100 percent Mr. Weaver. We’ll done.