(1) 250.472.8528
andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

Bill M221 — School Amendment Act, 2017

Today in the legislature I introduced a private member’s bill entitled Bill M221 — School Amendment Act, 2017. This Bill amends the School Act to require that a by-election be held within one year of school board trustees being removed and an official trustee being appointed to a District Board of Education. This situation arises, for example, when a school board is fired as has occurred in Vancouver School District 39 and North Okanagan Shuswap School District 83. This Bill recognizes the importance of the democratic nature of school boards. It is essential that school boards are elected so that they are accountable to the communities they serve, and so that they reflect the distinct nature of the district they represent.


Text of my Introduction


A. Weaver: It gives me pleasure to move that a bill intituled School Amendment Act, 2017, of which notice has been given, be introduced and read a first time now.

Motion approved.

A. Weaver: This bill amends the School Act to require that a by-election be held within one year of school board trustees being removed and an official trustee being appointed to a district board of education. This situation arises, for example, when a school board is fired.

This bill recognizes the importance of the democratic nature of school boards. It’s essential that school boards are elected so that they can be accountable to the communities they serve and so that they reflect the distinct nature of the district they represent. To this end, this bill would ensure that an appointed trustee cannot be in place for more than one year before an election is held.

I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

Bill M221, School Amendment Act, 2017, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.


Video of my Introduction



Media Release


Weaver introduces bill to require by-elections when a school board trustee is appointed

For immediate release
February 23rd, 2017

VICTORIA B.C. – When a school board is removed and an official trustee is appointed, it is essential that an election be held as soon as possible thereafter, to protect the democratically elected nature of school boards.

Today Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, introduced the School Amendment Act. The bill requires that by-elections be held within one year of school board trustees being removed and an official trustee being appointed to a District Board of Education. This situation arises, for example, when a school board is fired.

“This bill recognizes how important it is that our school boards are democratically elected. School boards that reflect and understand the unique nature of their district are better able to serve their communities,” says Weaver, also the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

“Elections ensure that school boards are accountable to their community, and provide for local representation in decision-making.

“If passed, this amendment would protect the democratic nature of school boards by ensuring that an appointed trustee cannot be in place for more than one year before an election is held.”

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Media contact
Mat Wright, Press Secretary
+1 250-216-3382 | mat.wright@leg.bc.ca

A bill to reform university governance in British Columbia

Today in the legislature I introduced a private member’s bill entitled Bill M222 —University Amendment Act, 2017. The purpose of this bill is to halt the creeping government interference in university governance, an issue I have previously raised in the past.

The independence of a University Board is critical. The purpose of a university is to educate people who can critically assess information to allow them to participate in an informed manner in a democracy. It’s a place that allows for innovation and creativity to flourish. It’s not a place for government to drive a top down imposition of its ideology. Unfortunately, under existing legislation the government has the potential to interfere in ways that could undermine that autonomy.

The Auditor General’s February 2014, University Board Governance Examinations report specifically notes:

The governance of universities is unique in that they have two governing bodies: the Senate
and the Board of Governors. The Senate operates in an autonomous manner from Government due to its academic responsibilities. The Board of Governors, on the other hand, has an accountability relationship with the Ministry of Advanced Education, as well as an important linkage between the university, Senate, and the local community.

The current composition of the Senate in special purpose teaching universities can potentially give the administration of these universities the majority vote. This also harms the ability of the Senate to keep the academic autonomy of the university at arm’s length from government.

The potential of political interference is unacceptable for our institutions of higher learning. My hope is that the government takes my suggestions for solving this issue seriously and takes action on this issue immediately to preserve the independence of our academic institutions.

Below I reproduce the text and video of the speech I gave as I introduced the bill. I also include the accompanying media release.


Text of my Speech


A. Weaver: I move that a bill intituled University Amendment Act, 2017, of which notice has been given, be introduced and read a first time now.

Motion approved.

A. Weaver: It gives me great pleasure to be introducing a bill termed the University Amendment Act. Universities in the province of British Columbia serve a key role in an economy that is that increasingly driven by knowledge, information and ideas. Academic freedom is a fundamental tenet for a culture of learning to succeed and a key part of academic freedom is found in the right to participate in the university governance.

While the role of a board of governors is essential in a university, the governance of a university must also be independent. It is with this in mind that I bring this bill forward today. This bill amends the University Act to ensure that appointees from the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council cannot unilaterally set the tone and direction of a university board through having a majority of votes and that university boards cannot unilaterally appoint a chancellor for the university.

This act also amends the University Act to change the composition, not the powers, of the senate for special purpose teaching universities. The current composition of the senate in special purpose teaching universities can potentially give the administration of these universities the majority vote. This harms the ability of the senate to keep the academic autonomy of the university at arm’s length from government. This bill will bring British Columbia to the same university governance standards employed by much of the rest of Canada.

I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

Bill M222, University Amendment Act, 2017, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.


Video of my Speech



Media Release


Weaver tables University Amendment Act to protect academic autonomy
For immediate release
February 23rd, 2017

VICTORIA B.C. – Government intrusion in university governance is compromising the credibility of B.C.’s world class academic institutions.

“The purpose of this bill is to halt the creeping government interference in university governance,” says Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party. “While the role of a Board of Governors is essential in a university, the governance of a university must also be independent.

“Universities in our province serve a key role in an economy that is increasingly driven by knowledge, information and ideas. Academic freedom is a fundamental tenant for a culture of learning to succeed and a key part of academic freedom is found in the right to participate in the university’s governance.”

This Bill amends the University Act to ensure that appointees from the Lieutenant Governor in Council cannot unilaterally set the tone and direction of a university board through having a majority of votes, and that university boards cannot unilaterally appoint a Chancellor for their university.

It also amends the University Act to change the composition of the Senate for special purpose teaching universities. As it currently stands, it is possible for the administration (instead of faculty) of these universities to have the majority vote which harms the ability of the senate to keep the academic autonomy of the university at arm’s length from government.

MLA Weaver tabled a less comprehensive version of this bill last February in response to two significant controversies at B.C. universities. In a subsequent article in the Georgia Strait entitled Arvind Gupta, Andrew Weaver, and the future of B.C.’s Universities, author Charlie Smith detailed how MLA Weaver was in a unique position to address the situation.

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Media contact
Mat Wright, Press Secretary
+1 250-216-3382 | mat.wright@leg.bc.ca


Backgrounder


In 2008 the BC Liberals amended the University Act to allow the University Board of Governors to appoint a university’s Chancellor. The BC NDP started this trend in 1997 by allowing the Board of Governors at the Technical University of BC to appoint its Chancellor.

MLA Weaver’s University Amendment Act amends the University Act to reduces the number of board members that the Lieutenant Governor in Council appoints and it empowers the convocation of universities to elect their Chancellor. In doing so, this Act introduces a standard of autonomy for the governance of universities to ensure they are free from political interference in their internal operations.

This Act also amends the University Act to change the composition, not the powers, of the Senate for special purpose teaching universities.

The governance of universities is unique in that they have two governing bodies: the Senate and the Board of Governors. The Senate operates in an autonomous manner from Government due to its academic responsibilities. The Board of Governors, on the other hand, has an accountability relationship with the Ministry of Advanced Education, as well as an important linkage between the university, Senate, and the local community.

The current composition in the University Act of the Senate in special purpose teaching universities can potentially give the administration of these universities the majority vote. This would harm the ability of the Senate to keep the academic autonomy of the university at arm’s length from government. By way of contrast, faculty hold the majority of votes in the senates for research universities. This bill ensures that the Senate composition at special purpose teaching universities is similar to that at research universities.

Introducing a petition to ban inhumane cage confinement in the egg industry

Today in the legislature I introduced Ned Taylor (photographed to the right with my colleague Vicki Huntington) who started a petition to ban battery cages in British Columbia. Ned Taylor was joined by his father Matt Taylor and by a friend Jordan Reichhart. I subsequently tabled his petition in the legislature.

As I mentioned in my introduction, there is only one step of separation in Victoria! Ned’s sister and my daughter went to elementary school together and his father’s sister and I both graduated from Oak Bay Secondary School in 1979!

Below I reproduce the text and video of both the guest and petition introductions.


Video of Guest Introduction



Text of Guest Introduction


A. Weaver: It gives me great pleasure to introduce three guests today, two of whom are constituents. The first is Ned Taylor — he’s a Reynold’s Secondary School student and the author of a petition I’ll be introducing momentarily — along with father, Matt Taylor, and his friend Jordan Reichhart.

I might say for those of you who are from Victoria, you will know there is no such thing of two steps of separation from people. There is only one. It turns out Ned’s sister was in grade one and kindergarten with my daughter and that his father’s sister went to high school with me and graduated in 1979 from Oak Bay.

Would the House please make them feel very welcome.


Video of Petition Introduction



Text of Petition Introduction


A. Weaver: I’m very pleased to stand to present a petition against the use of inhumane cage confinement in the egg industry. This petition, which has over 33,000 signatures, was started and organized by Ned Taylor, a constituent who’s attending grade 12 at Reynolds Secondary School in Victoria. In Ned Taylor’s words, this petition stands firmly against battery cages, enriched cages and all other cages in the egg industry because chickens deserve to roam freely for their health and well-being. Battery cages are cages used in our egg industry that confine egg-laying hens for their entire lives. In these cages the hens have no space to move or spread their wings, nor do they have a place to perch.


Reintroducing a Bill to Lower the Voting Age to 16 in British Columbia

Today in the legislature I reintroduced a bill that if enacted would lower the voter age in British Columbia from 18 to 16. The new name of the bill is Bill M220 — Election Amendment 1, 2017.

Those who have been following this site will know that last year, I initiated a conversation on whether or not we should reduce the voting age to 16. The response on social media was wonderful and we received many emails on the topic.

It turns out that this conversation is not only happening now in BC. Prince Edward Island held a referendum in the fall on electoral reform. The eligibility to vote will be extended to youth aged 16 and 17 in this referendum.

Below please find reproductions of both the text and video of the introduction of my bill. In addition, I reproduce the accompanying press release.


Text of Introduction


A. Weaver: I move that a bill intituled the Election Amendment Act, 2017, of which notice has been given, be introduced and read a first time now.

Motion approved.

A. Weaver: In this bill I’m introducing today, I would propose lowering the voting age to 16 in the province of British Columbia. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that the earlier in life a voter casts their first ballot, the more likely they are to develop voting as a habit throughout their life.

It’s also a common misconception that 16-year-olds are not as informed on and engaged in political issues as older voters. The research, however, says otherwise. These young citizens of British Columbia are old enough to drive, pay taxes and sign up for the military. In fact, the notion of taxation without representation is one that is not founded within our democracy. We require representation with taxation. Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Germany and parts of the U.K. have extended voting rights to 16-year-olds, and it’s time British Columbia do the same.

I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

Madame Speaker: Hon. Member, was that No. 1 or No. 2?

A. Weaver: That was No. 1. I’m sorry. Thank you, hon. Speaker.

Madame Speaker: No worries.

Bill M220, Election Amendment Act 1, 2017, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.

 


Video of Introduction



Media Release


Andrew Weaver introduces bill to lower the voting age in B.C.
For immediate release
February 20, 2017

VICTORIA B.C. – Today Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, re-introduced the Election Amendment Act 1, which seeks to engage youth in politics through lowering the voting age to 16.

“There is a lot of evidence that shows that if we engage our youth earlier in the political process they are more likely to develop voting as a habit for the rest of their life,” says Weaver, also the Leader of the B.C. Green Party.

“I’ve been speaking to individuals of all ages since I introduced this bill last Spring. I have heard overwhelming support for lowering the voting age.

“The decisions we make today as legislators will have a profound impact on the lives of our youth. I can’t think of a good reason why they shouldn’t have a stake in those decisions.

“It appears there is a trickle-up effect in civic participation. When youth engage, conversations around the dinner table tend to focus on politics and local issues, which results in a positive impact on voter turnout for the whole family.”

Many other jurisdictions, including Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, and parts of the UK, have extended voting rights to 16-year-olds. Scotland experimented by lowering the voting age in their independence referendum. It was so successful that they subsequently permanently dropped the voting age to 16 in all Scottish Parliament and local government elections.

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Media Contact
Mat Wright – Press Secretary Andrew Weaver MLA
1 250 216 3382
mat.wright@leg.bc.ca

Bill M219 — Recall and Initiative Amendment Act, 2017

Today in the Legislature I rose to re-introduce my private members bill entitled Bill M219: Recall and Initiative Amendment Act.

It is clear that British Columbians are concerned about oil pipelines and have lost confidence in the federal review process. The problem is, the tools we have to make our voices heard are too restrictive. If enacted, this bill would give British Columbians a stronger voice on how oil pipeline proposals are evaluated in the province.

Last October the residents of Bella Bella saw first hand how unprepared we are for an oil spill. It’s clear from the federal hearings I participates in on the Trans Mountain pipeline that these concerns aren’t being adequately addressed. In addition, no specifics have been outlined as to how recently announced federal funding will be used to prepare for a heavy oil spill.

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.


Introductory Remarks on the Bill


A. Weaver: I move that a bill intituled the Recall and Initiative Amendment Act, 2017, of which notice has been given, be introduced and read a first time now.

Motion approved.

A. Weaver: It gives me great pleasure to introduce this bill, which is designed to empower British Columbians so that their voices can be more effectively heard on environmental reviews of major projects such as oil pipelines.

If we are to re-engage British Columbians in our democracy, we need to actively seek their view on far more of what we debate in this Legislature. We also need to provide them with additional tools to hold their government to account. The Recall and Initiative Amendment Act is one such tool. British Columbians have lost faith in the federal review process, particularly as it pertains to oil pipeline proposals. The province has not listened to their voices.

This bill would offer British Columbians an opportunity to ensure that their voices are indeed heard. If an initiative were to pass under the proposed changes in the Recall and Initiative Amendment Act, it would require government to pull out of an existing environmental equivalency agreement for a particular project and hold its own made-in-B.C. review of, for example, a proposed heavy-oil pipeline.

I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House.

Bill M219, Recall and Initiative Amendment Act, 2017, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.


Video of Introductory Remarks