As part of our year-end coverage, the Oak Bay News sat down with Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver, who is also leader of the BC Green Party.
Over the next week we’ll provide readers with additional insight into the local MLA’s past year and what he’ll be working towards in 2019.
In an email to constituants, Weaver writes that “the past year has seen tremendous success and productivity for the BC Green Caucus.” He points to changes to the Agricultural Land Reserve, lobby reform, and announcing CleanBC —the province’s new climate action plan.
Announced earlier in December, CleanBC has the potential to cement Weaver’s environmental legacy in B.C. That plan is part of a broader commitment from the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GhGs) by 80 per-cent of 2007 levels, by the yaer 2050.
Creating a pathway to that goal, Clean B.C. has set ambitious infrastructure and transportation targets. The goal is to drop emissions from buildings by 40 per-cent, and fossil fuel use for transportation by 20 per cent over the next 12 years. Barring a steady course, all new vehicles sold in the province will be zero emission by 2040.
In the meantime, the province boosted funding for electric vehicles in September, continuing to provide point-of-sale rebates to EVs already being sold.
Although both the NDP and Liberals had environmental issues in their 2017 election platforms, extra attention is paid to Green party policy influences because of the party’s confidence and supply agreement (CASA) with the NDP — the official term for the power deal that’s holding up the minority government. The agreement sees Weavers’ Greens voting with the government on confidence motions, and case-by-case otherwise. Weavers’ party keeps the government afloat, but John Horgan is sailing the ship.
Despite some successes, there has been controversy.
After the B.C. governments decision in October to move ahead with an LNG Canada project in Kitimat, Weaver was critical. In a statement, he noted that “adding such a massive new source of GhGs means that the rest of our economy will have to make even more sacrifices to meet our climate targets. We did everything we could to deter them from making this decision, but we are only three MLAs up against the 84 whose parties support the heavy subsidization of this industry.”
The LNG project is a joint venture between Shell, Petronas, PetroChina, Mitsubishi Corporation, and Kogas to build an export plant in Kitimat. According to the LNG Canada website, “the project will initially export LNG from two processing units or ‘trains’ for an estimated 14 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), with the potential to expand to four trains in the future.” Each partner will source and sell thier product individually.
Another sore point environmentally was the federal governments decision to buy the Trans-Mountain pipeline, which Weaver described as a “betrayal”.
We touched on these subjects and more during a recent visit with Weaver, and will provide further coverage in the coming week on his current thoughts about top issues from his constituents, such as the resident deer problem, derelict boats, ride sharing, and how he balances provincial power with local responsibility.