Recognizing Andrew Weaver

Oct 10, 2019 | Blog | 0 comments

On Monday, Andrew Weaver announced that he will not seek re-election to the British Columbia Legislature. He has asked the BC Green Party to begin the process of selecting a new leader.

His decision has been some time in the making and it has given me the opportunity to step back and reflect on the past six and a half years that we have worked alongside each other.

Both of us joined the BC Greens at about the same time and we could not have come from more different worlds, experiences and backgrounds. I’ve often joked that Andrew is the academic, policy-wonk, numbers-guy and I’m a scrappy street kid and social networker. We each have had an important role to play in helping build the party to where it is today. Andrew’s contribution and legacy is substantial.

Creating a legacy!

In the 2013 election, our campaigns worked closely together. He made it first-past-the-post and I was just a few hundred votes out of the picture, finishing third in the closest three-way race in the province. I’ve often said that is the best loss of my life.

I don’t think the accomplishment of Andrew and his team led by Judy Fainstein is lost on anyone. It’s no small feat to win an election and it’s more difficult as a Member of a small party that has never won a seat before. It’s even more difficult in a province like British Columbia where only two parties had become firmly entrenched.

When then BC Green Party Leader Jane Sterk stepped down, the provincial council approached Andrew, as the first elected Green, to see if he wanted to be leader. With the reality of his victory setting in, he passed on the offer and suggested they approach me. I had just lost a tight race. In politics there is no consolation prize; however, Andrew found one for me. For that I am incredibly grateful to him. HÍSW̱ḴE (Thank you) Andrew!

It was more than the fact he gave me the opportunity to have a job at a time when I did not have one because I was campaigning and had stepped down as Councillor in Central Saanich. As the Interim-Leader, I got to remain relevant in the political discussion. I hung around the Legislature, saw how it worked, listened and heard the debates, understood the issues, was asked to comment on them and had the opportunity to travel the province and meet incredible people in all four corners of British Columbia.

Doing good work!

The opportunity Andrew gave me to stick close to him, to represent him on provincial council and become acclimated to provincial politics gave me such a boost in my political education. This served me well and I won election in 2017. Now, here I am sitting in my own office in the Legislature writing this political eulogy.

I cannot understate the difficulty of the work Andrew had when we was the lone BC Green in the Legislature between 2013 and 2017. The trails that he blazed during those lonely days helped Sonia and I to land softly when we were elected. The groundwork he laid for us allowed our small team to survive the early days when we were negotiating with the BC NDP and BC Liberals.

In some eulogies, they say that the person has gone from us far too soon. I’m not going to say that here. From day one Andrew has maintained that he did not intend on making a career out of this. He came here to do good work on climate policy, not take up space and just collect a pay cheque. He has proven that he meant what he said. He has done good work on climate policy and, as one headline read, “Weaver takes his own advice and quits while on top.”

When he leaves the people’s House and the BC Green Party as leader, he will leave it a much different place than he found it. It’s a good different. I have deep respect for the man and his accomplishments. Thank you my friend, I’m glad we got to share this time together. All the best in your future endeavours and I’m proud to have the opportunity to carry our work forward.

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