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

Uncategorized

Reintroducing Right to Roam Legislation in British Columbia

Today in the legislature I reintroduced the Right to Roam Act, a private members bill that I first introduced on February 27, 2017.

This bill was drafted in response to a number of conflicts in which people trying to hike or walk to rivers and lakes in the backcountry were met with new fences, gates, and threatened with arrest. When leased crown land or uncultivated private lands are blocking British Columbian’s ability to reach public lands and waterways, what are their rights in accessing those spaces?

The bill is a combination of B.C.’s existing Hunting and Fishing Heritage Act and Nova Scotia’s Angling Act and seeks to protect and clarify British Columbian’s right to access to crown and cross uncultivated wild lands. It does not increase access for any motorized vehicles, as this would be pose a significant risk to the landscape, wildlife populations, and historic First Nations sites. It does not amend any wildlife legislation or hunting regulations, nor does it limit the rights of property owners.

After its initial introduction, my office has received an endless stream of emails and phone calls from British Columbians who are struggling with this issue in their communities.

It’s clear that this right to access wilderness, especially on leased Crown land, is a debate that we need to have in British Columbia and that is precisely the reason why I felt it was important to reintroduce the bill. While I recognize that the government will unlikely call this bill for second reading, and while I also recognize that there are important amendments that would make it more effective, it’s critical that we keep this issue in the public realm.

I encourage all readers to contact their local MLA to emphasize the importance of bringing Right to Roam legislation to British Columbia.

Below I reproduce the video and text of the Bill’s introduction as well as the accompanying media release.


Video of Introduction



Text of Introduction


A. Weaver: I move that a bill intituled the Right to Roam Act, 2017 of which notice has been given in my name on the order paper be introduced and now read a first time.

The ability to access and experience nature is a right for all British Columbians, and we must protect it. Spending time outside is vital to our well-being, as well as the protection of our environment. The more time people spend in their local ecosystem, the more they will care about protecting it.

Increasingly, however, British Columbians are finding themselves fenced out of wild areas that have been enjoyed by the public for generations. Fences, gates and signs are blocking people from accessing Crown land.

Since the introduction of this bill for the first time last year, my office has literally received an endless stream of hundreds upon hundreds of emails and phone calls from British Columbians who are struggling with this issue in their communities.

It’s clear that this right to access wilderness, especially on leased Crown land, is a debate that we need to have in British Columbia.

At the recent UBCM conference, I also had delegations come to meet with me on this very topic, as well as local organizations and First Nations across British Columbia. It’s a pressing issue that’s effecting British Columbians from north to south to east to west.

This bill, which is built on a combination of B.C.’s existing Hunting and Fishing Heritage Act and Nova Scotia’s Angling Act would re-establish the rights of British Columbians to access public lands, rivers, streams and lakes and to use these spaces to fish, hike and enjoy outdoor recreation in accordance with the law.

Mr. Speaker: You have heard the question.

Motion approved.

A. Weaver: 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 M209, Right to Roam 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.


Media Release


Weaver re-introduces bill to increase British Columbian’s access to nature
For immediate release
November 8, 2017

VICTORIA, B.C. – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, introduced a Private Member’s Bill that would increase the ability of British Columbians to access public lands. Weaver first introduced the bill, the Right to Roam Act, 2017, in February 2017 under the previous B.C. Liberal government.

“The ability to access and experience nature is a right for all British Columbians, and we must protect it,” said Weaver.

“Spending time outside is vital to our wellbeing, as well as the protection of our environment. The more time people spend in their local ecosystem, the more they will care about protecting it.
“Increasingly, however, British Columbians are finding themselves fenced out of wild areas that have been enjoyed by the public for generations. Fences, gates and signs are blocking people from accessing crown land.

“Since the introduction of this bill for the first time last year, my office has received an endless stream of emails and phone calls from British Columbians who are struggling with this issue in their communities. It is clear that the right to access wilderness, especially on leased crown land, is a debate we need to have in B.C.”

This Bill, which is built on a combination of B.C.’s existing Hunting and Fishing Heritage Act and Nova Scotia’s Angling Act, would re-establish the rights of British Columbians to access public lands, rivers, streams, and lakes, and to use these spaces to fish, hike and enjoy outdoor recreation in accordance with the law.”

-30-

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

Mourning the loss of Constable John Davidson

In the legislature today Mike Farnworth, the government house leader, rose to deliver a Ministerial Statement on the tragic loss of Constable John Davidson. Constable  Davidson was killed in the line of duty yesterday in Abbotsford. As Leader of the Third Party in the Legislature, I rose to respond.

Below I reproduce the video and text.


Video



Text


A. Weaver: I rise to join the Government House Leader and the Leader of the Official Opposition in expressing our most sincere condolences to the loved ones of Const. John Davidson, the police officer who tragically lost his life yesterday.

We stand with the community of Abbotsford while they mourn his terrible loss.

Police officers put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe. We must never forget the risks our police officers and first responders face, nor the sacrifices they are called on to make in the line of duty.

Police officers are the heroes of our communities. They work tirelessly every day to respond to multiple crises and emergencies that, many times, each constitute the worst days of a citizen’s life. We can honour them by ensuring that they have the support they need to do their vital work in keeping us safe.

As we remember the bravery, honour and dedication of our first responders, we remember what makes this country great — our generosity, strong sense of community and willingness to look out for one another. Let us all strive to do all we can to support our communities so that they can be safe for our families and for all citizens of this province.

Liberal MLA berates Speaker for not allowing insults!

In what can only be described as one of the most bizarre moments I’ve experienced since getting elected in 2013, today I witnessed Mike de Jong, the MLA for Abbotsford West, once more challenging the Speaker for ruling certain language unparliamentary.

In Question Period, Jas Johal (MLA for Richmond Queensborough) referred to the Minister of Transportation as the Minister of Consultation Paralysis. The Speaker asked him to rephrase this and Mr. de Jong apparently felt that the Speaker’s ruling was inappropriate.

My colleague Sonia Furstenau rose to support the Speaker’s ruling. Please view the video exchange below and determine who has the most compelling argument. I think it should be obvious.

What’s remarkable about this is that it’s the second time that the MLA for Abbotsford West has openly challenged the Speaker.

On October 25, after Peter Milobar, the MLA for Kamloops North Thompson referred to the Agriculture Minister (Lana Popham) as the Minister of Intimidation. The Speaker asked him to withdraw the insult. Mike de Jong rose to Peter Milobar’s defense (see video below).

Bill 13: Pooled Registered Pension Plans Amendment Act

Today in the legislature we debated Bill 13: Pooled Registered Pension Plans Amendment Act at second reading.

The purpose of pooled registered pension plans are to reduce the burden on employers and make pensions more accessible to people who work for small businesses, freelance, and so forth.

Previously, when new multilateral agreements were made the full details of that agreement needed to be published in the BC Gazette for public information. This requirement didn’t fit with other BC statutes, where they just published the date of agreements, because this legislation was hastily modeled after the federal model that requires full agreement publication.

As it is already being published online, the BC Gazette is no longer the primary source people refer to for information.

Below I reproduce the text and video of my brief speech in support of this bill.


Text of Speech


A. Weaver: I rise to speak in favour and support of Bill 13, Pooled Registered Pension Plans Amendment Act, 2017. This is one of the rare moments in this Legislature when all members on all sides of the House can agree on the importance of moving forward with a particular bill. I can see that everyone’s happy that we can actually all agree on one issue here.

As we know, the purpose of pooled registered pension plans are to reduce the burden on employers and to make pensions more accessible to people and to people who work for, for example, small businesses, freelance operator contractors.

Previously, when new multilateral agreements were made, the full details of that agreement were needed to be published in the B.C. Gazette for public information. Now — of course the publishing is important — but that’s, in some sense, a relic of the past in this digital era that we are in today.

The requirement didn’t actually fit with other B.C. statutes as well, where they just published the date of the agreements. This initial legislation, I suspect, was rather hastily put together after the federal model that required full agreement publication and it to mirror up with federal government. It was a little bit burdensome, the process that was put in place.

It’s already published on-line. The B.C. Gazette is no longer the primary source that people go to refer to information. What this bill is doing, and why obviously we support it in its entirety, is it’s removing the requirement for full print publication of new multilateral agreements but still requires the date to be included in the Gazette.

All the multilateral agreement details will still be accessible to the public — if they so wish, on-line — but, in essence, what’s really happening is this bill is reducing publication costs, which were over $65 a page, and aligns print reporting requirements with other B.C. statutes. There are a few definitions that were previously made, and the regulations have been brought into the act since it was opened.

In conclusion, these are fairly minor changes, but their implication is very important. We believe that is a good piece of legislation, and we’re very proud to stand with our friends opposite and with government to support this legislation moving forward.


Video of Speech


On moving the fixed fall election date from October 2021 to October 2020

Today in the BC Legislature the BC Liberals proposed an amendment at committee stage to section 3 of  Bill 5: Constitution Amendment Act 2017. The purpose of this amendment was to change the date of the next election from October 2021 to October 2020.

After listening to the arguments proposed by the BC Liberals I stood and spoke against the amendment.

The BC Liberals subsequently called for a standing vote and the amendment was defeated.

Below I reproduce the video and text of my statement. These outline the reasons why I voted the way I did. I also append the results of the vote.


Video of Statement



Text of Statement


A. Weaver: I rise to speak against the amendment put forward today by the official opposition, for a number of reasons. The amendment, of course, as we know, is to change the fixed election date to 2020 instead of 2021. The member opposite does himself a disservice when he continues to refer to government here as a coalition.

The member opposite, as he tries to put forward his wealth of expertise in democratic reform in British Columbia, should know at a very fundamental level that a coalition is not what we have here in British Columbia. It is a minority government, where the majority of members in this House support the B.C. NDP in government.

It would do this member well — and it would do opposition members opposite well — if they actually were to be factual in their responses and debates. To mislead British Columbians by talking about things like a B.C. coalition is not fitting of members of this place.

We know that it is a minority government, under the great vast tradition of Westminster parliamentary democracies, where the government of the day, the B.C. NDP, is supported by the three B.C. Green members in a minority, not a coalition. So I correct that for the record.

We know that under the Constitution Act, we must have an election every five years. The member opposite, again, in what I can only describe as a somewhat revisionist history, forgets to point out that in 1986, the Social Credit government, the 1986 elected Social Credit government did not have an election for five full years, until 1991. Five years — not four years, as was suggested by the members opposite.

Here, what is happening, and why I do not support the amendment and why I support the original legislation, is as follows. Again, in the tradition of Westminster parliamentary democracies, we stood here in this House and pointed out to the B.C. Liberals this past summer that they did not have the confidence of the House. We didn’t quietly spring this on them at the last minute. In fact, shortly after we signed the confidence and supply agreement…. As, I’m so pleased to say, is signed in a similar manner in New Zealand, between the labour party there and the Greens, celebrated today in some of their housing policies.

We signed this agreement and told British Columbians that we would have this agreement signed before the writ was returned because we wanted to instil confidence, and we wanted to ensure that British Columbians had certainty as we moved forward. So we messaged out to British Columbians, through this government, that on May 31, we were going to support a B.C. NDP minority government.

Hon. Speaker, members opposite, despite saying they would call back the House soon, took their time. We waited months for this to come. So to say it’s four and a half years is simply incorrect. We wasted months by this government, not willing to stand up and have confidence tested in this House, somehow in denial that we live in a parliamentary democracy. So to say it’s four and a half years is flat out wrong. That is why I continue to support the bill as it stands and speak against this amendment.

We talk about precedent. We had three independent MLAs in this House: one who formally was with the B.C. NDP, Bob Simpson, who sat as an independent; one who was formally with the B.C. Liberals, John van Dongen, who also sat as an independent; and then, of course, our friend and colleague Vicki Huntington, who was the only independent MLA in British Columbia to be re-elected as an independent. The three of them got together and they made recommendations.

They made recommendations to bring the election to the fall, as we did, but they also recommended and they also suggested that it was important to recognize that we need to go a little longer because of some time for Elections B.C. to adjust. So this is not some kind of surprise, as suggested by the member opposite, the member for Nechako Lakes. This is no surprise to British Columbians. This is precisely what happened in 1986 when the Social Credit government served for five years.

It’s what was recommended in the bill brought forward, which is somehow not being raised by members opposite. They refer to previous NDP opposition bills — not referring to the independent members’ bill, which was truly independent, with one member from the B.C. Liberals, one from the NDP, and Vicki Huntington, suggesting otherwise.

With that, hon. Speaker, I thank you for your time, and I do appreciate the opportunity to speak against this amendment.


The Vote