ÍY SȻÁĆEL (Good Day),
Welcome to my weekly update for May 8th, 2022!
Happy Mother’s Day!
I raise my hands to all the powerful mothers in my life, my mom Sylvia, wife Emily, sisters Joni and Heather, Pat, Rochana, Leila, Sonia, Maeve, Jonina, and so many more. I hold the memory of my late-grandmothers Laura and Phyllis in my heart. So much love to you all today, and every day.
On a personal note, April 14th we sold our 2014 Nissan Leaf and bought an e-bike. For the past three weeks I have been commuting to my constituency and legislative offices by bike and bus. My legs are surprised by the recent attention.
The ride to the legislature is about an hour and I have bravely peddled through the cold and rainy Spring weather. October, November and February will be interesting.
My work in the legislature this week covered a wide range of subject matter.
Over the past few months we have been advocating on behalf of the Vancouver Island Voices for Eating Disorders. We were surprised to learn that supports for adults with eating disorders in Island Health is the responsibility of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Everywhere else in the province it is the responsibility of the health authority.
On Wednesday, I introduced five advocates from VIVED, Sally Chaster, Shaely Ritchie, Tara Fowler, Abby McClusky and Sara M who were in the visitors gallery. I asked a question to Minister Mitzi Dean about why her Ministry is the lead and asked if they were going to reinstate services and supports that were in place prior to the pandemic. Following question period, I tabled a petition with 887 signatures demanding support for adults with eating disorders.
Thursday was National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, also known as Red Dress Day. I was honoured to respond on behalf of the BC Green Caucus to Hon. Murray Rankin’s Ministerial Statement. (See my response below.)
In Question Period, I asked the Premier about the terrible human health impacts of fracking, including increased birth defects. This is disproportionately impacting Indigenous communities, children and pregnant people. Minister Rankin responded that they are working with the Treaty 8 communities as a result of the recent BC Supreme Court decision Yahey, also referred to as the Blueberry River decision. So, the BC NDP government is concerned about this because of a court case they lost?
On Friday, the Special Committee to review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which I am a member, continued deliberations for the entire morning. The final report is due in June 2022.
Unfortunately, I had to send my regrets to the Gulf Islands Community Radio on Salt Spring Island. I was scheduled to attend their launch party this past Friday but was unable to attend.
I am excited about community radio on the Gulf Islands and fully support this initiative. It is a lot of fun and a lot of work. I encourage you to check out their website and support them as you can!
If you have any questions or concerns, please provide your feedback at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca or 250-655-5600.
Adam Olsen, MLA
Saanich North and the Islands
Wednesday, May 4th, 2022
Services for adults with eating disorders across the province are delivered by health authorities with one exception – Island Health. For some inexplicable reason those services are delivered by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
For years, the services have been inadequate but during the pandemic the situation got much worse.
Members of my constituency have been advocating for better services and have continually been denied the answers, and the help, they need.
This is a critical situation that needs to be addressed. The Minister read out a prepared response to my questions and referenced funding that is not applicable on Southern Vancouver Island.
The Minister failed to provide confidence that the programs would improve
Thursday, May 5, 2022
Both the BC NDP and BC Liberals support gas liquefaction for the export market. However, a growing body of research is showing that fracking, the process to extract gas from the ground, causes significant harm to human health.
Indigenous communities, children and pregnant people are disproportionately impacted by the fracking industry, meanwhile the BC NDP government continues to support and subsidize the expansion of gas extraction by fracking.
This is a form of environmental racism.
Minister Rankin states that they are “rolling up their sleeves” as a result of the Blueberry River decision. So this government is only seized with this issue because they lost a decision in the Courts. Doesn’t this make the reality Indigenous People face in their home communities worse?
May 5th is the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry began in 2015 and concluded with a final report on June 3, 2019. In 2021, the federal government released a National Action Plan and the provincial government tabled our own “A Path Forward: Priorities and Early Strategies for B.C.”
I was honoured to provide the BC Green Party response to Minister Murray Rankin’s Ministerial Statement.
For the past 15 months I have been honoured to participate in the Police Act Reform committee.
We were given a broad terms of reference to review the entire policing system in British Columbia and provided 11 recommendations for transformational change.
This was a collaborative process between all Members on the committee. Noting transformation may take several years, all Members of the Legislative Assembly carry a responsibility of ensuring we move quickly to establish a process for the next steps for police reform.
For decades labour policy has lurched back and forth. This is a result of a legislative assembly previously split by two establishment political parties, BC NDP and BC Liberals, aligning as pro-labour and pro-business respectively.
This has not benefited workers or business owners. Neither of these entrenched “sides” of the debate have had to do much for those they claim to represent other than trot out time-tested rhetoric.
As the BC NDP government, through Bill 10, amends the Labour Relations Code to remove the secret ballot and have a single-step union certification process, like they have done when they were government in the past, they have abandoned worker protection on numerous fronts. No more egregious than the workers compensation program.
If the BC NDP want to maintain the ground they staked long ago as the party for the worker and working class, they are going to need to do much more than they have done in the 5 years since they formed government.
On May 2nd, MLA Sonia Furstenau and I asked questions of Minister George Heyman (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy). On the 3rd, I followed up with more questions for Minister Heyman. Then on May 4th, I asked questions of Minister Jennifer Whiteside (Ministry of Education and Child Care), and May 5th I was up for estimates with Minister Murray Rankin (Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation).
Education & Child Care
● Transcript & Video – May 4th (5:25pm)
Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation
● Transcript & Video – May 5th (2:15pm)
Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act: Final report & recommendations
Special Committee to Review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
You can find the transcripts and audio from the session here on the Committee website.
Contact my Community Office. We are here to advocate on behalf of residents of Saanich North and the Islands.
If you need advocacy or you have a question, concern, suggestion or idea, please do not hesitate to contact me at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca or 250-655-5600.
A reminder from my team in the Saanich North and the Islands of the consultation for Budget 2023 has already started.
Every year, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services holds a public consultation on the next provincial budget.
This year, the consultation will take place between May 30, 2022, and June 24, 2022. British Columbians will be invited to share their thoughts, ideas, and priorities.