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Media Release

Statement on BC Government’s Approval of Kinder Morgan Pipeline

Statement on BC Government’s Approval of Kinder Morgan Pipeline
For immediate release
January 11, 2017

VICTORIA B.C. – BC Green Party Leader, Andrew Weaver, and BC Green Candidate for Saanich North and the Islands, Adam Olsen, have issued the following statement in response to the BC Government’s approval of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline.

“Only the BC Liberals would suggest the approval of a heavy oil pipeline that puts our communities and coastline at risk was done to advance our healthy environment,” said Andrew Weaver. “I reviewed the exact same material as the BC Government as an official intervenor and I can tell you unequivocally, the evidence does not support this decision. The evidence does not support their assurances that we can adequately respond to a heavy oil spill, nor does it backup the government’s misleading claims about the economic effects this pipeline will have.”

“You’d think that, at the very least, Kinder Morgan would have been expected to show that they can clean up a dilbit spill to get approval. But they haven’t – because they can’t,” said Adam Olsen. “To make the situation even more absurd, the government is responding to evidence that says we are unable to remove spilled dilbit from a marine environment by saying ‘don’t worry about it, Kinder Morgan will figure it out.’”

“This is the result of a ‘get to yes, no matter the costs’ approach to economic policy. We have a project being approved that most British Columbians are against. We have a process that actively excluded communities. Now the government is arbitrarily suggesting that its conditions have been met, while the evidence shows that’s impossible.”

Both Andrew Weaver and Adam Olsen were interveners in the Kinder Morgan Hearing process, submitting hundreds of questions and reviewing thousands of pages of documentation from Kinder Morgan.

– 30 –

Media contact
Mat Wright, Press Secretary, Office of Andrew Weaver, MLA
+1 250-216-3382 | mat.wright@bcgreens.ca

Touring Vancouver’s downtown east side to learn more about the ongoing opioid overdose crisis

Today I visited Vancouver’s downtown east side to learn more about the overdose crisis plaguing British Columbia.

Earlier in the day, shocking statistics were released by the B.C. Coroners’ Service. Over the period January 1 to November 30 2016, there have been 755 overdose deaths in British Columbia with 128 of those fatalities occurring in November. Year-to-date statistics reveal a 70% increase from last year.

Those following my blog will know that we have written previously on this subject. On December 2 we outlined some of the steps that individuals could take if they encounter someone experiencing an opioid overdose. On December 15, we provided a more comprehensive analysis of the problem, and pointed out the need for a comprehensive, proactive approach to dealing with it.

During our tour today, Jonina Campbell, the BC Green candidate for New Westminster in the upcoming provincial election, and I were profoundly moved by what we experienced and the stories we heard. As Jonina noted in the statement we released after our tour (reproduced below), we witnessed “a grassroots effort of downtown eastside community members who have come together, because it is their friends and family who are suffering and dying.”

Thank you to Sarah Blyth, who is working with the Overdose Prevention Society, for taking the time to tour us around the downtown east side and educating us on the overdose crisis.

Later in the day I appeared on CBC’s On the Coast (starting at the 52:48 mark) in an attempt to convey what we learned from our visit.

Media Statement

Media Statement, Dec. 19, 2016
Statements from Andrew Weaver and Jonina Campbell following tour of pop-up safe injection site in downtown east side
For immediate release

VANCOUVER B.C. – B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver and New Westminster candidate Jonina Campbell released the following statements after touring a pop-up safe injection site near East Hastings and Columbia streets in Vancouver:

“I have been deeply moved by the dedication and commitment of those working at Vancouver’s pop-up safe injection sites – volunteers who are working with few resources to save lives that would otherwise likely be lost,” Weaver said. “Sarah Blyth, Anne Livingston and others who have acted so selflessly are to be commended for taking action in an incredibly desperate situation.

“Today, the B.C. Coroners Service reported that a staggering 755 people died from illicit drug use from January 1 to November 30 this year. The opioid crisis is out of control. Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott needs to immediately declare a national health emergency, which would give chief medical officers the power to deal with this crisis as a health issue. It is also critical that the federal government immediately repeal aspects of the Harper-era Bill C-2 that make it extremely difficult for cities to open safe-injection facilities like Vancouver’s InSite. Community members have been forced to pull together scarce resources to provide life-saving services on their own. It is unconscionable that our communities are barred from responding with the most effective, life-saving measures. The consequences are simple – the more we dither, the more people die.”

“The approach of the past, to treat drug use as a criminal issue, does not work. Drug use is a public health issue. Lack of treatment facilities has been a major contributing factor, while the systematic underfunding of mental health services has had broad reaching consequences. The scale of this tragedy forces us to ask some very difficult questions, including the question of decriminalizing illicit drugs. The Portugal model, where use or possession of illicit drugs was changed from a criminal to administrative offence, has proven to dramatically reduce STIs and drug-related deaths. These deaths can happen to anyone. As a society, we must respond accordingly.”

“I would like to call on all provincial leaders to come together on this issue,” Campbell added. “Andrew is the only party leader to tour a pop-up safe-injection site. While Premier Clark and John Horgan have stated that they will not visit one, I urge them to reconsider. We must put humanity above all else. The fentanyl crisis is a community health issue and therefore, local politicians must learn firsthand about what is occurring and what can be done to stop these tragic deaths.”

“We must not forget our responsibility to support first responders, frontline workers and volunteers, who are trying to cope with insufficient resources and the trauma of being on the ground. This is a grassroots effort of downtown eastside community members who have come together, because it is their friends and family who are suffering and dying. What I witnessed today was a tragedy of epic proportions. Few British Columbians understand the scale of what is happening. We must support those who put themselves in the middle of it, hoping to save one life at a time.”

– 30 –

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

Statement on B.C. Home Partnership

Media Statement, Dec. 15, 2016
Statement from Andrew Weaver on B.C. Home Partnership
For immediate release

VICTORIA B.C. – Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, is calling the B.C. Home Partnership a populist, short-sighted, and irresponsible move.

“The cost of purchasing a home has gone through the roof in this province because of irresponsible speculation and government inaction. The reason people can’t afford a home isn’t because the downpayment is too big – it’s because the average home in Vancouver costs more than $1 million. That’s the real problem, and this government is avoiding it entirely.

“Instead of tackling the real problems that are causing out of control housing prices – like deregulation and speculation – the government is announcing a band-aid solution that will build an even bigger housing crisis down the road

“We have seen the dangerous consequences of this type of policy in the United States. It became easier and easier for people to take on unaffordable mortgages, leading to crippling debt, the collapse of the housing market and first-time home buyers losing their livelihoods. The whole point of having a downpayment is to protect people from unmanageable debt. That’s also why the federal government recently increased the stress test for high ratio mortgages.

“The fact is, people should not have to take on a dangerous amount of debt to afford a home. The only reason they have to do that right now is because the B.C. Liberal government failed to act to keep housing prices affordable. Now, they are choosing to implement populist, short-sighted and irresponsible programs that download risk on to vulnerable people who are just looking for a way to improve their lives.”

– 30 –


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

Statement on Clark and Horgan’s response to Notley’s visit

For immediate release
Dec. 6, 2016

Statement on Clark and Horgan’s response to Notley’s visit

VICTORIA B.C. – B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver was angered by the lack of response from Premier Christy Clark and John Horgan as they let the premier of another province go unchallenged in making claims about a project that British Columbians have clearly said they do not want.

“British Columbians have said time and time again that they have felt excluded from discussions on the Kinder Morgan pipeline – that their concerns have been completely ignored. Now when the premier of another province comes to tell British Columbians what’s good for us, neither Premier Clark nor John Horgan did anything to change that.

“Premier Christy Clark was completely absent while a Premier of another province appeared on numerous TV and radio shows and made unsupported claims about the pipeline. The evidence clearly shows us that we are entirely unprepared to deal with an oil spill and yet our Premier had nothing to say.

“John Horgan, on the other hand, held a closed-door meeting with Premier Notley and allowed her to do the talking for him. At a time when British Columbians have made it clear that they want to be included in the conversation, Horgan has made it clear that he doesn’t want to have the actual conversation in public.

“Ultimately, people are wondering if their politicians are really representing their concerns in these discussions. With the complete reversal of the Federal Liberal position regarding this pipeline, significant public trust has been burned. British Columbians are done with backroom meetings and talking points. Only an open, unscripted debate will give British Columbians the opportunity to hear their concerns truly represented and responded to.

“If Horgan and Clark truly care about ensuring that British Columbians’ concerns are addressed, I hope they will support my call for an open, unscripted debate with Premier Notley on the Kinder Morgan pipeline. I am going to keep pushing for it. I hope they will join me.”

– 30 –

Media contact
Mat Wright, Press Secretary, Office of Andrew Weaver, MLA
+1 250-216-3382 | mat.wright@bcgreens.ca

Background – Andrew Weaver

Andrew Weaver received intervenor status in the National Energy Board hearing on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project both as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia and as a scientist with a doctorate in applied mathematics and with specialty in physical oceanography and atmospheric and climate science. As an MLA, he represents the constituency of Oak Bay-Gordon Head, which is located along the Trans Mountain Tanker Sailing Route on the southeastern tip of Vancouver Island. He was the only B.C. MLA with intervenor status in the hearing process.

As a scientist, Weaver served as Lansdowne Professor and Canada Research Chair in climate modeling and analysis in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, where he worked for over 20 years. He was a lead author on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th scientific assessments and has authored and coauthored over 200 peer-reviewed, scientific papers. Weaver is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Throughout the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain NEB hearings, he applied his scientific expertise, particularly in physical oceanography and modelling.

Statement on the need for BC poverty reduction strategy

Media Release: November 16th, 2016
Weaver statement on the need for BC poverty reduction strategy
For Immediate Release

Victoria, B.C. – The combination of a low minimum wage, high cost of living, inadequate social assistance, and lack of well-paying jobs has resulted in widespread poverty across British Columbia – the only province without a poverty reduction strategy.

Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, recently said he didn’t see the need for a poverty reduction strategy.

“It is outrageous. Comments like these show how out of touch the B.C. Liberals are with the issues facing everyday British Columbians,” said Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party. “They are more interested in building an economy that  supports their corporate donors than they are in building one that supports the British Columbians that they were elected to represent.”

“The B.C. Liberals have spent 16 years claiming they need to grow the economy before they can deal with poverty. Our economy has grown, and yet British Columbia continues to have one of the highest poverty rates in Canada. Their trickle-down approach to poverty reduction is not working and they have no plan to fix it,” said Weaver, the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

The BC Liberals’ jobs plan does not come close to addressing poverty in BC. 55,000 jobs have been created since last October, but 75% of these jobs (41,000) are part-time positions.

“The creation of part-time precarious work does not amount to a poverty reduction strategy and it does nothing to help struggling families in B.C.”

Food bank use is at an all-time high in BC: 103,400 people used food banks in March 2016, according to Food Banks Canada’s annual HungerCount report. Children made up almost a third of that number. This makes 2016 the 3rd year in a row that food bank use has increased. Charities are left with the responsibility to fill the gaps left by government inaction: people are relying on charities to meet their essential needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

“I personally know of a growing number of students who use food banks because they can’t afford to live,” said Weaver.

The unprecedented rate of food bank use in BC today speaks to the utter failure of the BC Liberals to promote economic growth in a way that serves British Columbians, and not just corporations. BC has one of the highest levels of poverty in the country, with between 11-16% of adults and 16-20% of children living in poverty, depending on the measure used.


Media Contact
Mat Wright – Press Secretary, Andrew Weaver MLA
1 250 216 3382