BC Green leader Adam Olsen responds to a columnist’s attack, and talks 2014

Reposted from Politics BC – www.politicsbc.ca

Adam Olsen has been the BC Green Party’s interim leader for only a few months, but that doesn’t mean he’ll shy away from tackling a sharp critique of his party. Olsen spoke with Politics BC to discuss a direct challenge issued by Globe and Mail columnist Lawrence Martin, and what’s next for the BC Greens.

In an opinion piece for the Globe and Mail, columnist Lawrence Martin argues that “it’s time for the Green Party to pack it in.” Martin claims “the Green Party is dragging down the fortunes of the main progressive parties” and “Greens should take a hard look at realities – such as having only one seat after 30 years of existence – and fold their tent.” What is the Green Party’s place in British Columbia and Canada?

“The BC Greens and the Green Party of Canada play a critical role in the political discourse. Certainly the other Parties from across the political spectrum have blamed the Greens for ruining their political chances. Our democracy is strengthened by having a diversity of choices on the ballot. The BC Greens will continue to hold all our colleagues in the legislature to account, we are committed to doing politics differently and to work through the partisan mud-slinging to find solutions on behalf of all British Columbians.”

Elizabeth May’s election can be seen as the beginning of a new chapter for the Green Party, or the high watermark. How much pressure is on May to create an image of an electable Green Party?

“Elizabeth’s election was a new chapter for Greens. Provincially, we have to continue building on her success and Andrew Weaver’s election. The pressure is not just on Elizabeth, we all have to continue to work to building our respective Party’s electoral success.”

You’ve spoken about protecting the agricultural land reserve (ALR) and local food security. Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm stirred up controversy when he pushed for changes to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC). Do you think the attention will serve to strengthen or weaken farmland protections in BC?

“It is in the provincial interest to ensure that we have the ability to produce food locally, regionally and provincially. It is important that this issue remain on the radar. Both the Auditor General and the Chair of the ALC have made recommendations that strengthen the ALR, the Commission has been implementing the recommendations over the past three years and the government invested heavily in that process. While it is important to strengthen the ALR, this effort must be matched with a commitment to supporting farmers. The zone alone has not proven to address the significant economic pressure farmers are facing in 2013.”

What’s ahead for the Green Party in 2014?

“The BC Greens will continue building the solid foundation to support our growing organization and energy. We will work with Dr. Andrew Weaver, supporting his legislative agenda, whenever the next sitting of the legislature happens. We have to focus on planning for 2017, building our fundraising base and renewing our policy. All of these processes have began and we continue to move toward the next provincial election in a positive way.”

Adam Olsen

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