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Media Release

Extremely disheartening decision by BC NDP to proceed with fiscally reckless Site C project

Today the BC NDP announced that they would proceed with the construction of Site C. Their justification for moving forward is distracting, irrelevant and unacceptable. Ultimately, the BC NDP made a choice. They chose to eliminate the tolls on the Port Mann and Gold Ears bridges instead of cancelling Site C.

Back in August I pointed out how wrong it was to eliminate the tolls on these bridges. One of the key reasons was that the outstanding debt of $4.7 billion (Port Mann – $3.6 billion; Golden Ears – is $1.1 billion) would have to be moved from self-supporting debt to taxpayer-supported debt. Increasing taxpayer supported debt is worrying. The Province’s borrowing rates are largely determined by our credit rating, overall taxpayer supported debt load and the ratio of provincial revenue to provincial debt. Increasing this debt load risks the potential of downgrading our credit rating which in term would increase borrowing rates on the entire provincial debt. Back in August, the BC NDP simply announced that they would eliminate tolls without checking with credit rating agencies and without concern for the rising provincial debt. It turns out that there was room to increase debt by $4 billion without triggering a downgrade.

Yet today, they evoke concerns about increasing provincial debt as the reason why Site C must move forward. Had they not so crassly eliminated the tolls in a desperate attempt to grab votes, Site C could have been cancelled today.

What’s even worse is that today the BC NDP announced that the cost of Site C has now risen to $10.7 billion. Back in 2010 when Site C was advanced to stage 3 of the approval process, its price tag  was somewhere between $5 billion and $6.6 billion. In 2011 the price tag increased to $7.9 billion. Two years later it was $8.3 billion and then this past year the price tag grew to $8.9 billion, accompanying a year-long delay in the construction schedule. The BCUC report published on November 1 concluded that the costs for Site C woulld be $10 billion. In fact, the B.C. Utilities Commission said this: “Given the nature of this type of project and what has occurred to date, total cost for the project may be in excess of $10 billion, and there are significant risks that could lead to further budget overruns.” The cost, they found, could end up being $12 billion — and this only two years into a nine-year project.

I have been pointing out the fiscal folly of building Site C since October 2013 and I’ve documented the many, many interventions I’ve made on the subject on this site. Our efforts culminated in us sending a letter to the BC Government last week outlining the case against Site C.

I know that there are many, many British Columbians who are devastated by today’s decision. What bothers me more than anything is that I know of quite a number of NDP MLAs who campaigned on stopping Site C. For example, the agriculture minister, Lana Popham, earlier this year told a Victoria audience:

“we would send this to the BCUC immediately, we would speed up the BCUC process, make it sixty days, and we would have that decision. There is no way that this project would pass.”

“in my view, we’re nine seats away from being able to stop Site C.

Michelle Mungall, the Minister for Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources told a group of Site C protesters that her government would stop Site C and implement their Power BC plan instead. John Horgan, our premier proudly held up a “Site C sucks” sign when he visited the Peace Valley prior to the last election.

When in opposition, George Heyman (now the minister of environment) was noted as saying “the dam project is wrong on every count because of its negative impact on agriculture, the environment, First Nations, clean energy commitments, economics, and the promise of jobs”. Many other NDP MLAs have spoken out against Site C or attended the annual Paddle for the Peace in celebration of the beautiful Peace Valley and in opposition to Site C.

Below I reproduce the press release we issued following the BC NDP announcement.

Media Release

Andrew Weaver responds to Government’s decision to continue with Site C
For immediate release
December 11th, 2017

VICTORIA, B.C. – Today Andrew Weaver responded to the NDP government’s decision to proceed with the construction of Site C.

“Our caucus is extremely disheartened by this decision. It is fiscally reckless to continue with Site C and my colleagues and I did everything we could to make this clear to the government.

“This government promised to be better than the B.C. Liberals. On this issue, the NDP government’s approach has turned out to be no different whatsoever.

“Since the beginning I have been concerned this would end up being a political decision. Today’s announcement reflects a sad reality for B.C., and British Columbians deserve better. They deserve a vision grounded in bold ideas that will enable our province to be a leader in the 21st century economy, not more empty campaign promises and political calculation.

“The government’s argument that cancelling Site C is too risky due to debt is incredibly cynical. This is a question of priorities. They had no problem adding billions onto the public debt to cancel the tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges, transferring those costs to people outside of the Lower Mainland to pick up votes in a couple of swing ridings.

“Today, Site C is no longer simply a B.C. Liberal boondoggle – it has now become the B.C. NDP’s project. They are accountable to British Columbians for the impact this project will have on our future.

“We have seen what is happening to ratepayers in Newfoundland because of Muskrat Falls, a similar project, where rates are set to almost double. I am deeply concerned that similar impacts are now in store for B.C. ratepayers.

“The lost economic opportunities from continuing with Site C are profound. Our caucus has met with dozens of local governments, First Nations and B.C. companies with viable alternative energy projects. As countries across the world embrace small scale distributed renewable energy, this decision keeps B.C. locked in the past and risks foregoing enormous opportunities.”


Media contact
Sarah Miller, Acting Press Secretary
+1 778-650-0597 | sarah.miller@leg.bc.ca

BC Liberals vote against moving ride-hailing forward

Today in the Legislature the government brought forward a motion to authorize the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations to examine, inquire into and make recommendations on ridesharing in British Columbia. As I noted late last week, the committee comprises MLAs from all three parties, will engage with expert witnesses, debate the issue and produce a report to be released by February 15, 2018. 

For several weeks, the B.C. Greens have been working with the B.C. NDP to develop an approach that would allow important questions related to ride-hailing to be canvassed with stakeholders in British Columbia with the goal of introducing enabling legislation. The motion that was to be debated was shared with the BC Liberals last week and we were led to believe that they supported it. The BC NDP, BC Liberal and BC Green house leaders let each other know that there would only be four speakers (two Liberals, one Green and one NDP).

I rose first to speaker in favour of the motion (see video and text reproduced below). The next speaker was Mike de Jong, the official opposition house leader. Midway through his speech he blindsided everyone by introducing an amendment to the motion with no notice. The debate then moved to debating the amendment. Once more I stood to speak to the amendment (the text and video are reproduced below).

As you will see from the two speeches, I was initially thrilled that all parties had agreed to work collaboratively to advance ridehailing. I had not expected to be blindsided by the petty games played by the BC Liberals as I had assumed, after conversing with a number of BC Liberal MLAs, that they were eager to move the issue forward. In the second speech I point out how unfortunate it was the the BC Liberals took the approach that they did, especially in light of the fact that we sent a letter to the opposition house leader last week concerning our desire to collaborate with the BC liberals on improving legislation.

From what transpired today it is clear to me that for the BC Liberals, politics is nothing but a game. They have no intention of working collaboratively to advance good public policy as all they seem to be interested in is the quest for power. After their antics today, I was also left wondering if the MLAs in the BC Liberal caucus actually knew what they were voting on. I suspect that they were as surprised as the rest of the house was when they were instructed to vote against bringing ridehailing to British Columbia. Fortunately, the BC Liberal amendment failed and the motion to authorize the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations to examine, inquire into and make recommendations on ridesharing in British Columbia passed.

Vote on the amendment

Vote on the motion

Below I also reproduce the media release that we issued following the passing of the motion today.

Speaking to Motion: Video

Speaking to Amendment: Video

Speaking to Motion: Text

A. Weaver: It gives me great pleasure to rise here and speak in favour of Motion 16 on the order paper today. I’m very, very happy to be standing here to this advancement. This is a momentous, to my knowledge, occasion. This is a first time that I recall that an issue raised in a private member’s bill has been brought forward to a committee, a select standing committee, in recent times here in the Legislature.

When I tabled my ride-share enabling bill for the first, second and third time, I said I was doing so to help move the discussion forward, and I’m very glad we have been able to do so in such a productive manner.

We in British Columbia want to view ourselves as innovators in the taxi sector, but you’ll never be viewed as an innovator if you’re not willing to embrace the innovation that is before us in that industry. At long last this issue will finally be addressed in a collaborative fashion by all three parties, and it’s been six years — six full years, pushing seven now — since ride-hailing companies first attempted to enter the B.C. market.

Despite all-party agreement that we need to bring this disruptive technology to British Columbia in a regulated fashion, we’ve yet to see any progress until now. Instead of my bill being called for second reading, ride-hailing will now go to an all-party committee, the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations, made up of MLAs from all three parties.

For several weeks, the B.C. Greens have been working with the B.C. NDP to develop an approach that would allow important questions related to ride-hailing to be canvassed with stakeholders in British Columbia. The committee, comprising MLAs from all three parties, will engage with expert witnesses, debate issues related to the industry and, ultimately, produce a report to be released by February 15, 2018.

The committee framework is the opportunity for government representatives to talk to ride-hailing companies, consult with stakeholders about their concerns and analyze how this sector will impact the variety of communities across British Columbia.

Sometimes people think that ride hailing is only a metro issue. But let me tell you, when I’ve travelled British Columbia and I’ve talked to taxi drivers from north to south and east to west, I recognize that it’s a desire to come provincewide.

On the Select Standing Committee on Finance, we were in Cranbrook recently, as part of our travels. The taxi driver who picked me up there told us about ride-sharing in her area. She said she wants it to come there because it costs her a $100 a day to rent the cab from a licensee holder. On some days, she actually loses money, whereas if she were able to be her own boss, travel when peak demand is there and not travel when there’s not peak demand, it would allow her greater flexibility. She was all for it in the Kootenays.

As we move forward, we must recognize that we already have ride-hailing companies operating in this province, not only in Metro Vancouver but here in the capital regional district. They’re already here. They’re already operating — in Chinese language, mind you — but they are operating in an unregulated environment. And that poses a risk to public safety that this government has a responsibility to ensure is dealt with.

This isn’t about just major ride-sharing companies. We’ve all heard Uber. In fact, we all hear the discussion that it’s all about Uber. Uber is but one name that seems to be in the press a lot, but there are many others. We recently heard about the company Lyft moving to North America. But what’s more is that as I toured British Columbia speaking to tech leaders in all jurisdictions — from Kelowna to Kamloops, to Vancouver, to Victoria, to Prince George, to Fort Saint John — I recognize that there are also B.C.-based entrepreneurs, B.C.-based innovators, B.C.-based start-ups that are keen to move into this disruptive space too. But they can’t because they want to play by the rules, and the rules have not been set. So they can’t enter the market.

It’s our expectation that this report will be used alongside the work of Mr. Hara to inform all future legislation that the government brings forward to regulate both the taxi industry and the ride-sharing industry.

Now, I appreciate the government has taken steps towards bringing ride-hailing to British Columbia by hiring an expert to begin to look at modernizing our out-of-date regulations for the taxi industry. However, my colleagues and I were concerned when we saw that explicit reference to ride-hailing was missing from the terms of reference of that review.

We felt that this would be an opportunity to use our Legislature in a new way and promote a multipartisan, collaborative response to this issue for which there is pent-up demand like I’ve never seen before in British Columbia.

While this committee will be tasked, the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations, with taking on the specific issue at present by ride-hailing services, I hope that what we are doing here today provides a blueprint in this province for how we might deal with future issues as well. The world is changing, and our economy is changing. We have the responsibility as legislators to ensure that we are not simply keeping pace with the change — or, in this case, struggling to even keep up with it, years behind — but that instead, we’re preparing for the challenges proactively and creating opportunities for this generation and next.

Let me tell you, here in B.C. while we still debate the introduction of ride-hailing and the introduction of transport network providers, other jurisdictions are already talking about driverless cars. They’re already talking about creating a regulatory environment that allows transportation without a driver. We are so far behind in British Columbia, yet we have so much opportunity to be leaders in this area, as well as others in the emerging economy.

For two years, my staff and I have been meeting with representatives from the taxi and ride-sharing industries to discuss the opportunities, the barriers and the challenges facing B.C.’s transportation systems. Let me say that while there are some licensed holders of taxis who are concerned that their investment may be affected, without doubt, the overwhelming number of taxi drivers and taxi companies that I’ve spoken to support the introduction of ride-hailing. They recognize that it has happened throughout North America, throughout the world, and their industry has not suffered.

We know that the introduction of ride-hailing targets a generation, the millennial generation, who otherwise would not be taking taxis. They’d be driving their cars or not going where they want to go. It’s the generation of people who, on evenings on Friday and Saturday nights, are stuck in downtown Vancouver trying to get home or sometimes taking that risk that perhaps they’ll drive home themselves because they can’t get access to a taxi, when they shouldn’t be in that car.

This is a safety issue for which a solution exists and for which a solution has existed for years. I’m delighted that we’ll start to explore this further in the Select Standing Committee on Crown Corporations. Quite excited by the makeup of that committee too. It looks like it will be some…. I think I’m one of the older people on that committee. There’s a relatively young demographic represented on that committee — the member for Vancouver–West End, the member for North Vancouver–Lonsdale…. It looks like we’ll have a generational perspective as we move forward in the discussions on that committee.

Over time, it has become increasingly clear that B.C. has fallen behind when it comes to evolving with innovation, unlike almost every other major city in North America. Other jurisdictions have had ride-sharing services in their communities for nearly a decade, and we just now are getting to work on it. And as I have mentioned, others are already talking about it with autonomous vehicles.

There is many an anecdote of executives and tech innovators coming to Vancouver on a jet from the Silicon Valley and getting off that plane and saying, “I’m going to access the ride-hailing company here, because I have an account,” and not being able to and then wondering what’s going on in this jurisdiction that is trying bill itself as an innovator in the modern economy.

Some cities are getting driverless cars, as I said, before we can even allow ride-sharing apps to be operated here in British Columbia. It’s just remarkable. So let’s get on with this committee work. I’m excited to do so. We do a disservice to the people who elect us if we continue to pretend that the only things that are worth talking about are the divisions between us. On this issue, the B.C. Liberals campaigned to bring in ride-sharing enabling legislation by the end of this year — as did the NDP and as did the B.C. Greens, actually, for three years. We finally have all three parties’ agreement, so let’s get on and do this.

A willingness to debate and to ultimately provide a shared report that outlines the path forward is a good thing. I’m sure that every member of this House can agree that when making big changes, it’s essential that we bring the public along with us. We respond to public opinion, we listen to the public, and we move forward based on public opinion to bring in policy that actually reflects the concerns and values of the general public but also provides a safe, equitable work environment for those embracing the new technology.

Considering the level of politicization of this issue so far, and the significance of introducing this new technology to British Columbia, I sincerely hope that this multiparty committee will provide great value in assuring the public’s confidence. We’re en route to developing legislation that will enable the fair, safe and accessible introduction of ride-sharing in British Columbia so it can be passed as soon as possible.

It’s my goal that the work of this committee will help make this the last holiday season in British Columbia without ride-sharing services.

Speaking to Amendment: Text

A. Weaver: I’d like to speak to this amendment, if you would bear with me just a couple of seconds. I’ve only seen it for the first time moments ago. I would start by saying we did send a letter to the member opposite, the House Leader of the Official Opposition, asking him for clarity and providing guidance on how we would hope that, in the spirit of cooperation, amendments would be brought forward and that they wouldn’t be tabled on the floor — if there was an idea to bring an amendment forward — without the opportunity for thoughtful reflection. Upon what was being brought forward in the amendment…. We don’t have that benefit right now because I literally have just been given it, and I’m literally struggling to find on the order papers the motion that we’re debating.

Here’s the motion here: “That the Committee be authorized to meet for up to 3 days to hear from expert witnesses.” So the concern here is to remove the words “3 days.” Now, I understand that the point here is that you don’t want to hamstring the committee. My worry about this — even though I do like the idea — is that we do have a parallel process with respect to the taxi industry. The purpose for having this particular review, this particular motion, this particular review of ride-hailing is that it was not included in the terms of reference of the review of the taxi industry.

I understand the importance of hearing from existing taxi licence holders as well. Clearly, they’re the ones who were most resistant to the introduction of the new technologies. The reason, of course, is that some of these have very, very substantive value.

I’ll tell a quick story here. As I was on C-FAX here in Victoria discussing ride-hailing, an owner of a taxi licence phoned in, and he told me that he’s very opposed to ride-hailing and he suggested I didn’t know what I was talking about. Then he went on to provide some information. He had acquired the taxi licence for $200. Well, as soon as one acquires a taxi licence for the tune of $200, you now are the owner.

We have a very odd system in British Columbia, whereby licence recipients own those licenses forever. A separate debate that we could have at some point is that I think it’s important that we move away from the owner having licences for life and recognize that the licences are the property of the Crown. They can be leased out instead of being offered forever, because the artificial value that’s created in the marketplace — for something that really shouldn’t be there — is done in the process.

So the $200 licence here in Victoria is now worth, I don’t know how many tens of thousands of dollars, because of the fact that these have a value. And you can buy and sell them. I get that the taxi licence holders are concerned — the taxi drivers less so; the licence holders are.

It’s important that we hear this perspective. The question I have is: to what extent that is this the appropriate avenue in which to actually have the taxi licence holders make their case when we know that the other parallel committee stage is exactly 100 percent dedicated to taxis? Ride-hailing companies are not able to participate in the engagement of that because it’s not included in the terms and references.

So I continue to struggle here. What I struggle most about is I like to reflect upon good ideas. The amount of time I’ve had to reflect upon this is literally seconds, and had the government opposite — members opposite — really wanted in good faith to get this forward, why didn’t they give it to us in advance? Why didn’t we see this last week? Why didn’t we see it yesterday? The opposition had the opportunity to do that. They had the opportunity to actually come and talk to us. It’s particularly in light of the fact that we sent the member for Abbotsford West a letter specifically requesting that he consider providing, if you want to actually get amendments forward, give us the information in advance so we can reflect upon it.

I struggle with this, because I don’t know what the unintended consequences — “for up to three days.” That was agreed upon. If we just remove it, how do we know now that this process is not self-limiting to go on forever? Let’s suppose suddenly every taxi licence holder decides that they want a right to come and speak before the committee. We could have thousands of speakers taking this process through to the eternity. That’s not the intent.

So again, I recognize and I support the idea that we don’t want to limit…. I hope I get a chance to hear some words from the member for West Vancouver–Sea to Sky who is on the committee with us because, again, I’m troubled with this, not because I don’t agree with the intent of providing flexibility to the committee and not because I don’t disagree that we want to ensure that we listen to everyone. But I’m not sure, again, let me see if I can go specifically to the wording.

I shouldn’t be doing this in the debate. In good faith, I shouldn’t be having to look at the same time as I’m speaking to this amendment trying to figure out and think whether I support it on the fly. Is that how we do legislation here in B.C.? Is this the way we really want to do legislation.

On the one hand, I’m holding the motion; on the other, I’m holding the amendment. I’m trying to figure out whether this is good or not. As I’m thinking this through, I’m filling the space with words because half my brain is trying to figure whether it’s a good idea and the other half is trying to fill this with words so you don’t call me on time.

This isn’t how we do policy in this province. The more I think about it, the more I’m thinking that the member opposite had a lot of time. He had the time to actually show this to us so we could have thought about it instead of on the floor. I can’t support this because of that, because I haven’t had the time to let my left brain catch up with my right brain as I’m trying to embed these two and think about the consequences with no advance notice.

Media Release

BC Liberals vote against moving ride-hailing forward
For immediate release
November 28, 2017

VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Liberal caucus today voted against moving ride-hailing forward in British Columbia. Last week, B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver announced that he had reached an agreement with the B.C. NDP to move the subject of ride-hailing, raised earlier in October in a Private Member’s Bill introduced by Weaver, to an all-party committee of the Legislature. The Committee is slated to deliver a report on ride-hailing to inform eventual legislation no later than February 15, 2018.

“I must admit I am disappointed that the BC Liberals have chosen to oppose moving ridesharing forward,” said Andrew Weaver. “Since electing a minority government British Columbians have been clear that they want their politicians to work together like grownups. This could have been an opportunity for all parties to stand together and show people we are capable of that.”

Last week, the B.C. Greens sent a letter to B.C. Liberal House Leader Mike de Jong requesting advance notice of amendments in order to consider the policy implications. However, the Liberals yet again introduced an amendment to the motion at the last minute. The amendment further came as a surprise as the B.C. Liberals had indicated in public statements that they were supportive of moving forward on this issue.

“If our goal is to craft good public policy Members of the legislature need to grow up and stop using amendments as tools for political gamesmanship. As legislators, we must consider, for example, whether amendments create redundancy and waste taxpayer money, as the one proposed by the Liberals today appears to. It is regrettable that the Liberals continue to refuse to engage on the issues in favour of treating this House like a game.”

The B.C. Liberal amendment would have amended the terms of reference for the committee to include taxi licensees. But a review of the taxi-licensing system is already underway by the government, making that prospective work by the committee ineffectual given it would be considering a licensing program that is slated for reform next year.

“While BC is just starting to debate ride hailing other jurisdictions have already turned to autonomous vehicles,” said Adam Olsen. “I know the B.C. Liberals have a leadership race underway, but we cannot keep putting political calculation ahead of moving forward on the issues that matter to the people that elected us.”


Media contact
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
+1 778-650-0597 | jillian.oliver@leg.bc.ca

Announcement that ride-hailing will go to an all-party committee

Today I issued a media release noting that government will be introducing a debatable motion next week to move the issue of ride-hailing to an all-party committee. As noted in the release, reproduced below, the committee, comprises MLAs from all three parties, will engage with expert witnesses, debate the issue and produce a report to be released by February 15, 2018. The intention is to inform the development of subsequent ride-hailing legislation that will be brought forward next year.

This an exciting development for the BC Greens. I have thrice (twice under the BC Liberals and once under the BC NDP) introduced a private members bill designed to create the regulatory environment that would enable ridesharing in BC (it is already occurring but in an unregulated fashion). It looks like we are finally moving forward in a tripartisan fashion.

Media Release

Weaver announces that ride-hailing will go to all-party committee
For immediate release
November 23, 2017

VICTORIA, B.C. – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, announced today that ride-hailing will go to an all-party committee of MLAs. For several weeks the B.C. Greens have been working with the B.C. NDP to develop an approach that would allow important questions related to ride-hailing to be canvassed. The committee, comprised of MLAs from all three parties, will engage with expert witnesses, debate the issue and produce a report to be released by February 15, 2018 intended to inform subsequent ride-hailing legislation next year.

“I am delighted that this issue will finally be addressed in a collaborative fashion by all three parties,” Weaver said.

“The committee’s report will tackle key questions not addressed in the terms of reference created by the government for their review of the taxi industry. We will consider important issues like insurance, public safety and the impact of ride-hailing on different communities and municipalities across the province.

“It has been six years since ride-hailing companies first attempted to enter the B.C. market. All three parties have now agreed that we need to bring this technology to B.C. in a regulated fashion. My goal with this committee is to make this the last holiday season in which British Columbians are faced with fewer transportation options than every other major city in North America.”

Weaver introduced a Private Member’s Bill to enable ride-hailing in B.C. for the third time in October. In-mid October the B.C. NDP announced they had hired Dan Hara to conduct a review of the taxi industry, however, the terms of reference did not explicitly include ride-hailing.


Media contact
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
+1 778-650-0597 | jillian.oliver@leg.bc.ca

Final hurdle towards banning big money in BC Politics cleared

Today in the legislature we passed Bill 3 – Election Amendment Act, 2017 which ends the wild west era of big money in BC politics. This is a major success for the BC Green Party as we campaigned extensively on this during the last provincial election. A number of our amendments were also included in the final legislation.

Below is the media release that we issued after the bill passed.

Media Release

Final hurdle towards banning big money cleared
For immediate release
November 22, 2017

VICTORIA, B.C. – The Election Amendment Act, which bans corporate, union and out-of-province donations in British Columbia’s electoral system, as well as limits the amount of money individuals can contribute, has passed third reading, the final political hurdle before becoming law. The B.C. Greens consulted extensively with the government in the development of the legislation, and introduced several amendments in order to increase transparency, reduce the influence of big money already in the system and make the legislation more equitable for small parties.

“I am absolutely thrilled that we have finally taken this significant step towards to putting people back at the centre of B.C. politics,” said Weaver.

“This legislation means that votes cast by the citizens of this province, not cash from special interests, is what will drive our political system going forward.

“The B.C. Greens banned corporate and union donations to our own party in September 2016 because we recognized the importance of this issue for strengthening our democracy. Less than a year ago, B.C. was being internationally derided as the ‘wild west’ of politics due to our lax campaign finance laws. This monumental achievement demonstrates what we can accomplish when we work together to advance good public policy.”

Adam Olsen, Party spokesperson for campaign finance, noted that the legislation will improve trust in government.

“For far too long, the influence of big money in our politics has corroded British Columbians’ trust in their government,” said Olsen.

“A healthy democracy is one where citizens trust their elected officials to put their interests first and foremost. With millions of our dollars flowing to political parties every year, British Columbians were often left wondering what was truly behind government decision-making. The B.C Greens will continue to push for changes, such greater reforms to B.C.’s lobbying industry next year, which will continue to build trust between British Columbians and their leaders.”


Media contact
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
+1 778-650-0597 | jillian.oliver@leg.bc.ca

Bringing the warning from the world’s scientists to the BC Legislature

On November 13, 2017 a second  world scientists’ warning to humanity was published in Oxford University Press’s prestigious journal Bioscience. Signed by 15,364 scientists from 184 countries, this warning concluded:

To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual. Soon it will be too late to shift our course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions that earth, with all its life, is our only home.”

This message came 25 years after a similar message was delivered by 1,575 pre-eminent scientists in 1992.

What’s remarkable is that the support for the second warning continues to grow and it has strong support from the British Columbia scientific community.  For example, of the 15,364 initial signatories, 40 were from the University of Victoria and 61 from the University of British Columbia. 554 scientists from Canada signed the initial warning and this number has grown to 994  since the letter was published.

Anyone who has watched the documentary Running on Climate knows that I take the warning very seriously. It was the reason that I ran with the BC Greens in 2013.

Today in the legislature I rose during Members’ Statements to bring the message of these scientists directly to the BC Legislature.

Below I reproduce the video and text of my delivery. I also append the accompanying media release.

Video of Statement

Text of Statement

A. Weaver: In 1992, Dr. Henry Kendall, a Nobel laureate in physics, organized a statement signed by 1,575 pre-eminent scientists that was sent to government leaders of all nations. The statement warned:

Human beings in the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we may wish for human society and the plant and the animal kingdoms and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.

Twenty-five years later, a second warning, now signed by 15,364 scientists from 184 countries was issued. Published last week in Oxford University Press’s prestigious journal Bioscience, this warning concluded:

To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual. Soon it will be too late to shift our course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions that earth, with all its life, is our only home.”

The warning quantitatively analyzed the nine environmental issues identified in 1992, and they show that in all cases but one, conditions have actually gotten worse and, in most cases, dramatically so.

Yet that one success story offers us so much hope. In 1987, the Montreal protocol was finalized. All 197 countries in the UN have ratified this protocol, and it has led to a dramatic reduction in substances that deplete the ozone layer. And 170 of these 197 countries have already ratified the Paris climate agreement, which formed the basis of discussions earlier this month at the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the UN framework convention on climate change.

Let us collectively reflect upon the warnings of the world’s scientists, as well as the words of the Gov. Jay Inslee, who addressed the Legislature yesterday. In reference to tackling climate change, he noted:

This is one of the greatest challenges of our time. If we are remembered for anything 100 years from now, this is what we will be judged on. It is time for us rise to that challenge.

Media Release

Weaver delivers warning from 15,364 scientists to the B.C. Legislature
For immediate release
November 22, 2017

VICTORIA, B.C. – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, read a warning from a letter signed by from 15,364 scientists in 184 countries to the B.C. Legislature. The Letter, published last week by the Alliance of World Scientists and entitled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: a second notice,” warns world leaders that there needs to be change in order to save the earth.

“As leaders, we have a responsibility to younger generations to ensure that our actions today do not leave them worse off than we are,” said Weaver.

“I am proud to deliver this message to the B.C. legislature so that we may be reminded of this responsibility and take urgent action to address climate change. B.C. has a history of leadership in climate action. I am proud that our Agreement with the B.C. NDP has once again moved us in this direction, but there remains much work to be done.

“B.C. has a highly educated workforce, abundant natural resources and is one of the most beautiful places in the world to live. If we have the courage to champion a bold vision, we can ensure that B.C. is a leader not only in climate action, but also in the low-carbon economy that is emerging as world leaders step up to reduce emissions.”

The letter states that in order “to prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual…Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.”

The warning comes 25 years after Dr. Henry Kendall, a Nobel Laureate and former Chairperson of the Union of Concerned Scientists, organized a similar statement signed by 1,500 scientists in 1992.

Weaver is a renowned climate scientist who prior to his election in 2013 served as Canada Research Chair in climate modelling and analysis in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria. He was a Lead Author on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s scientific assessments and has authored or coauthored over 200 peer-reviewed, scientific papers and was the Chief Editor of the Journal of Climate from 2005-2009.


Media contact
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
+1 778-650-0597 | jillian.oliver@leg.bc.ca