Putting Principles Back Into Politics

It is a principle of the BC Green Party that our elected representatives are not ‘whipped’. Our MLA’s enjoy freedoms that our political colleagues do not. During the 2013 election, I was proud of this principle; it was a central feature of my campaign, and it was a central feature of Dr. Andrew Weaver’s campaign. It was a commitment we made to our constituents. It was and remains a commitment that the BC Greens make to the people of British Columbia.

This past week Dr. Weaver convened an important discussion around the future of energy in British Columbia. As an elected representative I expect him to address these tough issues and I expect him to do so in a reasonable and pragmatic way.

The two-party system that has governed BC for the past few decades has stifled any real discussion about our provinces energy future. By maintaining rigid and inflexible positions, (i.e. the all-good and all-bad arguments) we arrive at a place where we must ask: Are we serving those who elect us? Is this rigidity serving our children or grandchildren? Are we moving forward?

Dr. Weaver has crossed what for some people is considered to be an uncomfortable line—one that our political institutions have maintained out of fear. This freedom is an important principle that BC Greens share.

Change is difficult. British Columbians have not had the benefit before now of seeing or hearing provincial politicians who are free from the ‘whip’ or the threat of the power of the ‘whip’. With Dr. Weaver’s statement, we take another step forward in living our party’s principle to not whip our members or control their freedom of speech.

As the Interim-Leader of the BC Greens I will not muzzle or otherwise limit Dr. Weaver’s ability to address the issues that are deeply affecting our province, in fact I will encourage him. He was democratically elected to do that work, as candidates for elected office this was the commitment we made.

We will not advance the interest of our province by keeping our mouths shut, our ideas to ourselves, and our opinions limited by the fear of political punishment. Our society has been clamoring for a politician to challenge the rhetoric of oppositional politics and I am proud to be the leader of a party that is committed to doing just that.

While we may disagree on how to get there, we are united in our belief that we must work to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels and begin the transition to clean technology as soon as possible. Let’s keep the conversation going and find solutions together.

Adam Olsen

Stellys Cross Road, Brentwood Bay, BC, V8M 1J7