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

Weaver’s initiative to ban mandatory high heels passes

 

Weaver’s initiative to ban mandatory high heels passes
April 7th, 2017
For immediate release

VICTORIA B.C. – Last month on International Women’s Day, MLA Andrew Weaver tabled a bill that would ensure employers do not set varying footwear requirements for their employees based on gender, gender expression or gender identity. As a result, for example, this bill would prevent employers from requiring select employees to wear high-heeled shoes in the workplace.

“When I first tabled this bill it went viral and received media coverage around the world. Forcing female employees to wear high-heeled shoes, especially when their male colleagues are wearing flat shoes, is archaic and this change is clearly overdue,” said Weaver.

Today Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, welcomed the news that the government has amended the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation under the Workers Compensation Act to include that “potential for musculoskeletal injury” must be considered in determining appropriate footwear.

“Over the last month, my office has been inundated with messages from people in countless sectors sharing their experience of being forced to wear heels at work. Waiters, bartenders, lawyers, people in the retail and hospitality industry wrote in to my office. I have even heard from people who work within the B.C. Legislature! They talked about sexism, objectification, bleeding feet, sore knees, hips, and backs, long term damage, and called for this practice be officially changed.”

“We are very far from an inclusive, gender-equal province. But this is an important step (taken in work-appropriate shoes of our choosing) in the right direction.” said Weaver.

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

Responding to Government’s Ridesharing Announcement

Weaver Responds to Government’s Ridesharing Announcement
March 7th, 2017
For immediate release

VICTORIA B.C. – After tabling the Rideshare Enabling Act twice in the B.C. Legislature, MLA Andrew Weaver is glad to see the provincial government also advancing the issue.

“This government initiative is long overdue and a critical issue for the 21st century economy,” says Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party.

Until today, the B.C. Greens have been the only party advocating for the responsible adoption of ridesharing in B.C., with Weaver introducing his Ridesharing Enabling Act in April 2016 and again in February 2017. Weaver held consultations with stakeholders to create the ridesharing framework bill.

“I have been working on this issue for two years, not out of electoral calculation, but rather as a matter of principle. The principle is – as I have stated repeatedly – that if we are to put innovation at the centre of our new economy, we must embrace the best ideas wherever we find them and improve upon them with made-in-BC expertise,” says Weaver.

“You cannot be considered a leader in technology if you are unwilling to embrace embrace technology already in widespread use.”

Earlier this year, more than 20 local tech CEOs penned a public letter to the B.C. Liberal government articulating the very same reasoning.
“My support for ridesharing lies in the fact that it makes good economic sense. And, hand in hand with that, it is also good environmental policy. Ridesharing, in all its forms, means fewer cars, less dependence on oil and gas, and a much smaller carbon footprint.”
“At the same time, I sympathize with the taxi drivers, many of whom have paid very high prices for their licenses. The government has a duty to ensure that existing industries are adequately consulted, and the announcement from the Taxi Driver’s Association suggests they failed to do so.”

It is important to note that Weaver and the B.C. Green Party’s support of ridesharing doesn’t indicate support for one specific ridesharing company.

“All companies doing business in B.C. are expected to be good corporate citizens and a B.C. Green government will hold them to a very high standard,” says Weaver. “In the government’s announcement today they said they ‘expect’ companies to behave when they do business in B.C. – that’s not good enough. A Green government would require them to do so.”

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

Welcoming Elections BC investigation into political contributions

Weaver welcomes Elections BC investigation into political contributions
March 6th, 2017
For immediate release

VICTORIA B.C. – Today Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, welcomed the news that Elections BC is investigating potential contraventions of the Election Act.

“I’m thrilled that Elections BC will be investigating the information regarding indirect political contributions and other potential contraventions of the Election Act that were recently made public through the media,” says Weaver, also the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

“However, this issue is so serious and of such consequence to British Columbians that I am also asking the RCMP to determine whether there are grounds for a criminal investigation. I will be sending the RCMP a letter this afternoon.”

Media reports over the weekend allege that many donations to the Liberals are made fraudulently or in violation of the Election Act and that the Liberals are encouraging this behaviour by holding cash for access events. The Liberals raised more than $12 million last year, more than any provincial political party in power. The B.C. NDP, which also accepts both corporate and union donations, have also allegedly pressured lobbyists for donations. The NDP have not released fundraising figures for 2016 but raised $3 million in 2015.

“It is crucial that all investigations be done in a thorough and timely manner, and that the results be released before the May 9th election. British Columbians have a right to know, before they cast their ballot, whether the B.C. Liberal Party or the B.C. NDP have broken the law.”

The B.C. Green Party stopped accepting corporate and union donations in September.

“This situation shows clearly the need for wholesale political finance reform in B.C,” says Weaver. “It’s time for British Columbians to take back B.C.”

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

Response to Minister of Environment’s cancellation of Cobble Hill Holdings Permit

Response to Minister of Environment’s cancellation of Cobble Hill Holdings Permit
February 23, 2017
For immediate release

VICTORIA B.C. — After years of community members fighting their government over the safety of their drinking water, the B.C. Minister of Environment has cancelled the waste discharge permit for Cobble Hill Holdings, effective immediately.

“I’m glad the Minister has finally pulled the permit, but it’s unfortunate that it took this long. It is egregious that the people of Shawnigan had to take their government to court simply to receive representation,” Andrew Weaver said, Leader of the B.C. Green Party.

Weaver first visited the site with community members and Shawnigan Lake Area Director, Sonia Furstenau, on April 2nd, 2015. During that time Weaver collected water samples which were tested for contamination at the University of Victoria. His initial analysis of the case can be found in a report posted to his website on April 18th, 2015.

Furstenau, B.C. Greens candidate for Cowichan Valley and Deputy Leader of the B.C. Green Party, added, “While I’m thrilled for the residents of Shawnigan that the Minister has done the right thing and cancelled the permit, I remain committed to holding the government to account to ensure the contaminated soil is cleaned up safely. The residents of Shawnigan should be proud of what we accomplished today, but they deserved to see action from their government much sooner.”

Weaver continued, “Sonia Furstenau has shown outstanding leadership on holding the government to account over their dereliction of duty on this file. I’m incredibly proud to have her on the B.C. Greens team. This kind of principled representation is what communities across B.C. deserve and can expect from the B.C. Greens.

“The situation that has unfolded in Shawnigan shows why the government’s professional reliance model is completely inadequate for environmental protection and community safety. Instead of drawing on the technical expertise of the civil service who serve the public interest, the government cut these experts and now relies instead on the judgement of experts hired by corporations with vested interests.

“The Minister does not have a plan for how or even if the contaminated soil will be removed. Who is going to deal the contaminated soils now? Where is it going to go?”

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


Background


MLA Andrew Weaver first visited the site with community members and Shawnigan Lake Area Director, Sonia Furstenau, on April 2nd, 2015. During that time Weaver collected water samples which were tested for contamination at the University of Victoria. His initial analysis of the case can be found in a report posted to his website on April 18th, 2015. Subsequent comment and analysis were published as the situation evolved.

Professional reliance model

In 2001, after the BC Liberals were elected to their first term, they began to cut the size of government. As a direct consequence of government downsizing, technical expertise within the civil service became a casualty. Instead of having technical expertise in house, the government moved towards wide scale use of Professional Reliance in the permitting process. Under the Professional Reliance approach, the Ministry relies on the judgment and expertise of qualified experts hired by a project proponent.

What is particularly important to note is that in March 2014, the Office of the British Columbia Ombudsperson released a scathing report criticizing the Professional Reliance model with respect to streamside protection and enhancement areas. The report, entitled The Challenges of Using a Professional Reliance in Environmental Protection – British Columbia’s Riparian Areas Regulation made 25 recommendations, 24 of which the government agreed to accept. But this acceptance came almost a year after the Ministry of Environment granted SIA their permit.

The government’s approach to follow the Professional Reliance model is fraught with difficulties. The role of the government is to protect the public interest. When government is making decisions solely based on a project proponent’s expert opinion, it is very troubling. Imagine a judge in a court of law only listening to the expert opinion on one side of a case (plaintiff or defendant) and not allowing expert opinion to be submitted from the opposing side.

Responding to the B.C. Budget

Weaver Responds to B.C. Budget
For immediate release
February 21st, 2017

VICTORIA B.C. – “This budget represents a cynical ploy by handing out financial goodies a few months before an election,” says Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party. “It pretends to tackle issues that should have been dealt with years ago. It is politicking with public interests.

“Two years ago, I brought forward a progressive way to eliminate MSP premiums through income taxes, but the government did not act. I brought it up again the next year, and the government made a few minor changes. Now they are making a substantial reduction in MSP premiums for some British Columbians – on the eve of an election.

“This is political opportunism, pure and simple. Although the financial break is an improvement for many British Columbians, the 2017 budget clearly demonstrates that the B.C. Liberals govern by political calculation, not by what is right for the people of B.C.

“This government’s manipulation of voters’ hopes and needs is an insult to the very real anxieties British Columbians face. The B.C. Green Party will put people at the heart of our decision making. We are ready to replace Christy Clark’s contriving government with principled leadership this May.”

Additional quotes on specific sections of the B.C. Budget continued below.

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


Additional Quotes from Andrew Weaver


“The mindset that is used across the board with this government is ‘many of you are struggling because of our policies, we’ll help a select few of you.’ Rather than addressing the root issues, they are choosing who is worthy of support, based on their ideology. They are picking winners and losers, in our communities and in business:

Affordability

“How can the government afford all these selective investments? The answer is, of course, on the backs of British Columbians. The B.C. Liberals stood by and watched the affordability of B.C. get dragged to an international extreme, to the extent that many can no longer afford to live in the communities they were born and raised in.

“This budget includes 2,000 additional units of affordable housing, which is a start, but this government has dragged tens of thousands of citizens into an affordability crisis.

“This budget provides no relief for low-income renters. Rental assistance programs are simply being maintained at current levels, which is completely inadequate in the face of the out of control rental market. Those struggling to pay rent and seniors struggling to stay in their homes as they age find no help in this budget.

“Now, instead of helping those most in need, the B.C. Liberals are catering to their friends at the top and the demographics they think will vote for them.”

Medical Services Plan Premiums

“The reduction in MSP premiums is a welcome change for many, particularly those with moderate incomes, for whom the premiums are a significant drain.

“However, MSP remains a flat tax, with someone making $42,001 per year paying the same premiums as someone making $120,000.

“Moreover, this government made no commitment and provided no timeline for how they will eliminate MSP premiums entirely.”

Poverty reduction

“Refusing, for the 10th year in a row, to increase social assistance rates is an unconscionable decision. This government is boasting about posting surpluses, yet we have the third highest poverty rate in the country, and this government has refused to increase social assistance rates for the past 10 years. People surviving on social assistance today receive only $610 per month, the same rate since 2007. They rely on food banks to eat.

“The prevailing ideology of this government is that jobs are the only pathway to dignity, and that people on social assistance are simply choosing not to work, and therefore do not deserve adequate support, nor do their children deserve adequate support. ”

Seniors

“This budget is noticeably silent on funding for seniors care.”

Energy

“The B.C. Liberals are still banking on an LNG future for the province, with no mention of wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, or renewable resource development. In fact, the only mention of clean energy in the budget document is made in reference to the ‘Site C Clean Energy project.’

“Eliminating PST for commercial customers strikes me as a transparent giveaway to try to incentivize a non-existent LNG industry and rationalize the construction of Site C dam.”

Environment

“The budget items on ‘environmental protection’ would be laughable if they weren’t so devastating for the environment in our province.

“The B.C. government’s selective protection of wildlife is a disaster. They’ve let the biodiversity of our province become more endangered than anywhere else in the country and destroyed habitats to the point of local extinction. We have more at risk species than any other province – but this government singles out caribou – and only caribou – for protection. Caribou recovery is, of course, a praiseworthy initiative, but these populations are in crisis because the government permitted the destruction of their critical habitat in the first place.

“In this budget we get more money for park rangers and campsites. While welcome investments, they have more to do with people than the environment. The 1,900 new campsites will be built into existing parks, replacing wild habitats. There will be no additional funding in the next three years for the Conservation Officer Service or the environmental protection, sustainability, or enhancement initiatives.

“That this government would consider $5 million for the SPCA as a commitment to environmental protection is an outrageous testament to the utter disregard this government holds for the environment. The SPCA does laudable work protecting the welfare of domestic and farm animals, but it is transparently not in the business of environmental protection.”

Transportation

“Regarding clean transportation, they’ve neglected innovation in favour of merely re-announcing an old program.

“Instead of actively supporting the expansion of clean transportation, this government is merely providing static funding for an existing program, premised on an assumption of no increase in demand.”