Looking ahead to 2017, I can’t help but feel incredibly excited – not the least of which is because the provincial election is on the horizon. I sincerely thank you for putting your trust in me these past four years. This May I’m hopeful that you will afford me the distinct honour of serving you as your MLA for a second term. I’m also eager to see how the election will play out across British Columbia.
The politics of 2016 were trying, to say the least, but I feel that positive change is afoot in B.C. From east to west and north to south people are realizing that status-quo politics is not serving them or their communities. We are seeing people reach their limits with parties who bend to organized union or corporate interests. People are fed up with political parties and their MLAs being reduced to puppets controlled by corporate or union puppet masters with a firm grip on their purse strings. The election, however, will put the power back where it belongs, in the hands of British Columbians.
Since the B.C. Greens, of which I am now the leader, stopped accepting corporate and union donations, we have seen an incredible ground swell of support. Politics for the people, by the people, has really struck a chord in B.C. and I know it has not gone unnoticed by other politicians. These politicians now have to leave their back room meetings and answer directly to British Columbians. And British Columbians are demanding thoughtful responses, not sound bites or media lines, to their questions about housing, affordability, public education, income security, MSP premiums and hydro rates, environmental protection, climate change, doctor shortages, and the spiraling Fentanyl overdose epidemic, to name but a few.
The riding of Oak Bay – Gordon Head had the highest voter turnout in the province in 2013, something I am endlessly proud of to this day, and I’m optimistic that the change that started in our community will spread to other ridings in 2017.
I draw my inspiration from our community that I’ve been grateful to call home for my entire life. I was born in Victoria, attended Oak Bay High School, raised my family in Gordon Head and built a career here. As a professor at the University of Victoria for the past twenty-five years, I have been fortunate enough to work with, and teach, some of the brightest minds in science.
The B.C. Greens have incredible candidates stepping up across the province. I’m convinced that this election will be the first time in a very long time that voters have a viable third choice, and no longer have to hold their nose when voting for the lesser of two evils. It’s my job as leader of the party to provide people with something they can vote for, not against.
We will face some massive challenges in our future, to be sure, but I am confident we will overcome them. As always, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with my office.
I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year.
– Andrew Weaver is the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and leader of the B.C. Green Party.