The 89th British Columbia Youth Parliament will hold its parliamentary session in Victoria at the Provincial Legislative Chambers from December 27 to 31, 2017. The Youth Parliament is a province-wide non-partisan organization for young people ages 16 to 21. It teaches citizenship skills through participation in the December parliamentary session and in community service activities throughout the year. Youth Parliament is a one year commitment.
The BC Youth Parliament is non-partisan and applicants need only be interested in learning more about the parliamentary process and in serving their community.
The application is available here, along with an informational brochure and poster.
All applications must be received by October 24, 2017. Selected applicants will be notified in early November.
For immediate release
Oct. 17, 2016
Weaver Comments on Vancouver School Board Firing
Victoria, B.C. – “For public education to thrive in British Columbia, the provincial government must work effectively and in partnership with Boards of Education to put students first,” said Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. “Minister Bernier’s announcement today is yet another example of how the dysfunctional relationship between the B.C. Liberals and Boards of Education results in the spending of more time and money on opposing each other than on finding solutions that will benefit students and teachers in the classroom.”
“We need to build relationships that establish trust. Education in B.C. needs a fresh start. The B.C. Greens are committed to working collectively with all stakeholders to make public education a priority and put the interests of BC students first.”
“With the cancelling of the fall Legislative session, this major decision was made without parliamentary oversight, allowing the B.C. Liberals to avoid being held accountable for their continued mismanagement of our public education system.”
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Office of Andrew Weaver, MLA
Today in the Legislature I introduced a bill intituled Environmental Bill of Rights Act, 2016.
This Bill specifically states that British Columbians have a right to a healthy environment and that it is the government’s responsibility to protect it for this generation as well as those to come. There are five key components to this Bill. The Bill:
I am no longer confident that the next generation of British Columbians will enjoy the same opportunities that we have today. The problem is that governments are frequently pitting the environment against industry and it doesn’t have to be that way.
The rhetoric that we hear in this province — the forces of no,’ ‘get to yes’ no matter what the question is — is not helpful to anybody, despite the fact that it’s a great sound bite. The intention of my bill is to create the rules in which industry can operate. Industry has crying out for this; the last thing industry wants is uncertainty. They want to know what the rules are. They want to know what the penalties are. They want to know how they can do business in British Columbia.
Municipalities in BC have recently expressed significant support for an Environment Bill of Rights Act, including 47 who have made a declaration affirming British Columbians rights to a healthy environment (in response to the Blue Dot Tour), as well as passing an endorsement at the 2015 UBCM Convention for a provincial bill outlining the same.
It’s time that we moved on from the outdated thinking that every environmental law brought forward is somehow an attack on industry. I have visited projects across British Columbia and the most successful businesses, which also create the greatest benefits for their local economy, are those that account for their impacts on the environment. This should become the norm for anyone who wants to do business in B.C.
Below I reproduce the video and text of the introduction of my bill. I also reproduce the accompanying media statement.
A. Weaver: I move that a bill intituled Environmental Bill of Rights Act, 2016, of which notice has been given in my name, be introduced and read a first time now.
A. Weaver: Over the past decade, British Columbia has seen steadied erosion of the environmental laws in our province. The lack of any significant climate action from this province is a clear example. By outlining the rights and responsibilities of the B.C. government and the citizens of British Columbia, this bill is designed to complement and expand upon the existing legislation used when decisions impact the environment.
This bill reinforces British Columbians’ right to a healthy environment and the government’s responsibility to protect it for this generation and those to come. A version of this legislation has already been passed in five legislatures across Canada: Ontario, Quebec, Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories.
Furthermore, 47 municipalities in British Columbia have already made declarations concerning their citizens’ rights to a healthy environment. This was reaffirmed at the UBCM convention last fall when a motion was endorsed to call for legislation that grounded this right in environmental law.
I visited resource development projects across British Columbia. The most successful of these, which also create the greatest benefits for their local economy, are those that account for their impacts on the environment. This should become the norm for anyone who wants to do business in B.C.
The Environmental Bill of Rights Act introduces a number of new policy measures that will assure increased transparency and access to environmental decision-making and create a stronger framework for British Columbians to be included in environmental decisions made in this province.
I move that the bill be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of this House after today.
Bill M236, Environmental Bill of Rights Act, 2016, 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 Statement: May 16, 2016
Environmental Bill of Rights Act introduced by Andrew Weaver
For Immediate Release
Victoria B.C. – To safeguard the right of current and future generations to a healthy environment, British Columbians must be able to effectively engage with the provincial government’s duty to protect the environment under its jurisdiction – and to hold the government accountable when they fail to do so, says Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head and Leader of the BC Green Party.
In order to accomplish this, today in the legislature Dr. Weaver introduced the Environmental Bill of Rights Act. By outlining the rights and responsibilities of the BC Government and the citizens of British Columbia this bill is designed to complement and expand on the existing legislation used when decisions impact the environment. The bill reinforces British Columbians’ right to a healthy environment and the Government’s responsibility to protect it for this generation and those to come.
“It’s time that we moved on from the outdated thinking that every environmental law brought forward is somehow an attack on industry,” said Weaver. “I have visited projects across British Columbia and the most successful businesses, which also create the greatest benefits for their local economy, are those that account for their impacts on the environment. This should become the norm for anyone who wants to do business in B.C.”
A number of Canadian jurisdictions have enacted similar legislation including Ontario, Quebec, Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. In addition, 47 municipalities across British Columbia have passed municipal declarations supporting the right to a healthy environment. A similar declaration was endorsed at the UBCM Conference last fall, which called on the provincial government to enact a provincial environmental bill of rights.
“While we talk a big game in this province about our environmental protections, the fact is that our environmental laws have eroded over time,” said Weaver. “I am no longer confident that the next generation of British Columbians will enjoy the same opportunities that we have today, and I am concerned with the burden we place on them when rushed processes and projects cause unnecessary environmental damage.”
The Environmental Bill of Rights Act introduces a number of new policy tools which will ensure increased transparency and access to environmental decision-making and create a stronger framework for British Columbians to be included in environmental decisions made in this province.
Any decisions involving environmental matters would be documented in a new, publicly accessible, online registry. Currently only certain types of information are available in a generally piecemeal format.
The Bill also creates a new independent Commissioner of the Environment, who is responsible for investigating violations, providing the public an opportunity to participate in and access the process, and providing regular reports about the state of the B.C. environment.
“Frankly, I think it’s time that British Columbians were given more tools to ensure that their province doesn’t just talk a good game about protecting the environment – but is actually doing the job they are elected to do,” said Weaver.
Mat Wright – Press Secretary Andrew Weaver MLA
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Today in the legislature I rose to question the premier concerning the fundamental inconsistency in her attempting to claim leadership in climate change mitigation while at the same time touting the development of a hypothetical LNG industry. As you will see from the exchange below, the premier doubles down on the LNG rhetoric. The response was quite disappointing.
A. Weaver: Last week the Premier commented on the wildfire situation in Fort McMurray. Remarkably, she used the disaster as an opportunity to point out the importance of investment in the oil and gas sector. A couple of weeks prior, the Premier told a group in Fort St. John:
“If there’s any argument for exporting LNG in helping fight climate change, surely it is all around us when we see these fires burning out of control.“
While the scientific community has understood the link between global warming and the increasing occurrence of large wildfires for quite some time, the Premier’s statement is utterly bizarre. It’s about time that this government level with British Columbians and point out that developing an LNG industry in B.C. is simply not compatible with climate leadership.
My question to the Premier is this. How can the Premier continue to talk about showing climate leadership while at the same time completely undermining the climate policies put in place by the previous administration and using every opportunity to promote fossil fuel development in this province?
Hon. C. Clark: Well, I’m delighted to have a chance to answer the member’s questions, given that I didn’t get that opportunity yesterday. And thanks to the member for the question. He and I, there is no doubt….
Madame Speaker: Members.
Hon. C. Clark: There is no doubt that the member and I have a fundamental disagreement about this. He’s stated his case, and now I’ll state mine, and that is to say that around the world today there are 1,000 coal plants on the books, ready to be built, 150 of them in and around Beijing, in China. The only way that those coal plants will be prevented from being built is if they have an alternative source of energy. And that energy needs to be a transitional fuel that is already in production around the world, which we can get there.
But here’s the problem. We all want to move to renewable energies, and we would all, ultimately…. I know Canada has committed to the international commitment of trying to get off fossil fuels altogether. We are not there yet. And the challenge for humanity today is: how do we make sure that we prevent those coal plants from being built? How do we minimize the GHG emissions that would otherwise be produced in the processing and production of that energy?
British Columbia can play a vital part in that by producing the cleanest fossil fuel on the planet, by producing it in the cleanest method that anyone does around the globe, by shipping it to places like China, displacing much dirtier fuels with this very clean and important transitional fuel and, at the same time, create over 100,000 jobs over 30 years for British Columbians — which I know the members of the opposition, every single day, will stand up and oppose.
A. Weaver: This government has got its own Climate Action Team, and they noted: “New policies have not been added to the original policies, which plateaued in 2012.” In fact, we’ve weakened or repealed a number of these existing policies.
The government really can no longer claim leadership and, frankly, have lost credibility on the climate leadership file. The province has a legislated goal to reduce carbon emissions from the current 62 megatonnes to 43 megatonnes by 2020, and 13 megatonnes by 2050. One single LNG plant would add 15 megatonnes, and every British Columbian would have to provide negative emissions by 2050.
My question to the Premier is this. Will she commit today to abandon this government’s reckless and desperate attempts to land a hypothetical LNG project via a generational sellout and, instead, commit to aggressively increase the price on carbon and begin the transformation of our economy towards a low-carbon future? Or instead, will she continue to do her part to commit the youth of today to a desperate future of species extinction and geopolitical instability?
Hon. C. Clark: I have to say that was such a long question that it might have been more suited to the estimates process than question period. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to do that today.
I will say this. The investment in British Columbia for LNG so far is not hypothetical. The $20 billion invested in boots on the ground in our province is not hypothetical.
We remain the only jurisdiction in Canada and in North America that has the highest and broadest carbon tax. We are well out in front of any province in this country, any state in the United States, by a long shot.
We continue to maintain the only carbon-neutral government in Canada. We are working to build Site C, which will be a source of clean, low-cost energy for generations to come, despite the opposition of the members across the way. We are poised to make the biggest contribution to fighting climate change that Canada has ever made, with the export of liquefied natural gas.
I know that the forces of no across the way, in the NDP, oppose every step of the way the creation of an LNG industry and the jobs that would come from it for all of those working people around the world. But at least they can admit that while we’re putting…. If they don’t want to put people to work, they should at least join us in wanting to fight climate change by exporting this cleanest fossil fuel on the planet and displacing those dirtier sources of fuel that will otherwise inevitably be built.
Media Release: May 12, 2016
Andrew Weaver – Premier using smoke and mirrors on climate file
For Immediate Release
Victoria B.C. – Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head suggested the Premier has not been forthright when it comes to taking action on Climate Change.
“I was shocked to hear her logic on how burning more fossil fuels is equivalent to taking strong action on climate change,” says Weaver. “The fact is that our Premier has done nothing substantial on the biggest issue facing our global civilization since she was elected.”
As fires raged in the north of the province, the Premier stated in late April that “If there’s any argument for exporting LNG and helping fight climate change, surely it is all around us when we see these fires burning out of control,” she told reporters in Fort St. John.
“Our Premier has her own Climate Leadership Team yet she fails to understand that creating an LNG industry and reducing our emissions are fundamentally incompatible,” argues Weaver. “At every opportunity her government promotes the idea that LNG will combat the climate crisis by displacing coal in Asia, while ignoring the fact that it will drastically increase our own emissions.”
“Notwithstanding the substantial evidence that, when its full life-cycle is accounted for LNG is just as bad coal, she fails to grasp that we can’t claim credit for shipping a “cleaner fuel” when we also ship millions of tonnes of coal out of B.C.,” says Weaver. “It’s just ridiculous to claim that shipping out a fossil fuel is equivalent to climate leadership or that it will do anything to address climate change.”
Today MLA Weaver asked the Premier how her argument makes sense, and if she would support the recommendations of her Climate Leadership Team and take stronger action on climate change. The Climate Leadership Team released its recommendations to government in October 2015.
“I ran for office on this issue because frankly it is the biggest issue facing our global civilization. Our province is already being ravaged by wildfires, floods, and droughts and it’s going to get worse. Yet the government is doing everything it can to exacerbate to the problem for its short-term political gain.”
Mat Wright – Press Secretary Andrew Weaver MLA
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Today in the legislature I introduced Bill M229 — Election Amendment Act, 2016. If enacted, Bill M229 would lower the voter age in British Columbia from 18 to 16.
Those who have been following this site will know that last month, 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 will be holding 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.
A. Weaver: I move that a bill intituled Election Amendment Act, 2016, of which notice has been given in my name, be introduced and read a first time now.
A. Weaver: It gives me great pleasure to introduce the Election Amendment Act, 2016, which, if enacted, would lower the voter age in British Columbia to 16. B.C.’s voting age was not always 18. The voting age dropped from 21 to 19 in 1952 and then again to 18 in 1992. In 1970, Canada’s Elections Act was amended to drop the voting age federally from 21 to 18.
There’s ample 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 and engaged in political issues as older voters. The available research, however, suggests otherwise. These young B.C. citizens are also old enough to drive, drop out of school, get married, pay taxes and sign up for the military. They are taxed without representation.
Each and every year B.C. students are required to take social studies 11 or civic studies 11 or B.C. First Nations studies 12 to fulfil their social studies graduation requirement. Politics and government is a key unit in the social studies curriculum, taken when students are typically 16. It’s an ideal time to engage students on the history and importance of voting.
Today’s decision-makers don’t have to live with the long-term consequences of the decisions they make. Those who do are either not allowed to or are not participating in our democratic institutions. We can do something about the former by reducing the voter age to 16. After all, the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. They should have a say in the direction we are heading, as they will inherit what we leave behind.
Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Germany and parts of the U.K., to name but a few jurisdictions, have extended voting rights to 16-year-olds. Scotland experimented by lowering the voting age in their independence referendum. They viewed it as being so successful that they subsequently permanently dropped the voting age to 16 in all future Scottish Parliament and local government elections. It’s time that British Columbia did 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.
Bill M229, Election Amendment Act, 2016, 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: May 10, 2016
Andrew Weaver – Good evidence for changing voting age to 16
Embargoed Until May 11, 1:30pm
Victoria B.C. – Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head today tabled legislation to lower the voting age to 16 in British Columbia.
“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. “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.”
The voting age was not always 18 in British Columbia. British Columbia dropped the voting age in 1952 from 21 to 19, but it wasn’t until 1992 that we made the subsequent change to lower the age to 18. The Election Amendment Act, 2016, if passed, would change the voting age to 16.
“Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, and parts of the UK to name but a few jurisdictions, have extended voting rights to 16-year-olds”, notes Weaver. Scotland experimented by lowering the voting age in their independence referendum. They viewed it as being so successful that they subsequently permanently dropped the voting age to 16 in all future Scottish Parliament and local government elections.
It’s time that British Columbia did the same.”
“There is a general misconception that 16 and 17-year-olds are too young to make informed decisions or that they will just vote the way their parents tell them to. Research indicates that this is not the case,” argues Weaver. “It appears there is actually a trickle-up effect in civic participation. When youth engage in civics, 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.”
“We allow our 16-year-olds to drive, pay taxes, drop out of school, get married, sign up for the military and work unrestricted hours. Why are we not allowing them to vote?” asks Weaver.
Mat Wright – Press Secretary Andrew Weaver MLA
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