ÍY SȻÁĆEL (Good Day),
Welcome to my weekly update for October 9, 2022!
Firstly, I want to raise my hands in gratitude this Thanksgiving weekend.
Thank you to my Constituency Advocates, Laura Parker and William Kelly for their incredible work on behalf of the people in Saanich North and the Islands.
Thank you to the team in the BC Green Caucus office in the legislature for their amazing support of our work on policy, legislation, committees and government accountability.
Thank you to my family, Emily, Silas, and Ella, and my extended family, for all your love and support.
Thank you to everyone I met with in person as I visited the beautiful communities in Saanich North and the Islands, and the people I connected with by email or online, this summer. I appreciate your engagement, your experiences, and your wisdom. I am honoured to serve such an incredible place.
I had a busy summer in the constituency hosting a series of drop-in Public Circle Community Dialogues on Galiano, Mayne, Pender, Salt Spring, and Saturna Islands, and visiting other communities around British Columbia. It was important to hear from local residents and gain a provincial perspective as well.
The first Friday of each month I visit Salt Spring to attend ASK Salt Spring to meet with constituents, provide an update, and answer questions. You are welcome and encouraged to drop in. Join us at the Salt Spring Island Multi-Space (former middle school) on November 4, 2022, from 11:00am – 1:00pm. Read the ASK Salt Spring meeting summary for June 3, 2022, and September 6, 2022.
I was pleased to lend my voice in support of the campaign for a new Community Park at Hwmet’utsum/Mt. Maxwell. Protecting these spaces in our communities is important and I am thankful for the opportunity to share my perspective in these community videos. Check them out here.
Find out more at https://communitypark.ca/
The frustration of not being able to access primary healthcare, and the fear that hospital emergency care may not be available when you need it, are common across the province.
The angst of not being able to find, or the potential displacement from, a safe, affordable home, crumbling infrastructure, and the growing climate emergency is being felt everywhere in our province.
This moment requires a fully engaged government.
We need the Cabinet, and their Ministries, intently focused on finding the solutions to the overlapping and intersecting crises. We need the entire legislative assembly proposing ideas, testing assumptions, questioning and critiquing the work, not to destroy or humiliate the government, but to improve the lives of British Columbians. This moment requires good governance.
The blood sport that has become the political culture in British Columbia distracts from the work we are supposed to be doing, and further undermines public confidence in their democratic government.
We returned for the 3rd session of the 42nd Parliament this last week. The government tabled several new Bills. See information below.
I asked two questions in Question Period, first about the growing scandal in the wood pellet industry, and second about the ongoing challenges with the Coastal GasLink pipeline construction and environmental regulations and enforcement.
October 4th is the National Day of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, 2-Spirit and Gender Diverse Peoples. I offered the BC Green Caucus response to Hon. Murray Rankin’s Ministerial Statement.
Finally, on Thursday I tabled a private members’ bill to make it an offence to destroy or disturb a bear den. See details below.
If you find this newsletter informative, please share it with your friends and neighbours and invite them to sign up to receive my updates.
If you need advocacy from our office, 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
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
In my first Question of the Fall session, I asked Minister of Forests, Hon. Katrine Conroy about the growing controversy surrounding the wood pellet industry.
Journalists in both the United Kingdom and here in Canada are investigating the claims of the British Columbia government and Drax, a large multinational corporation that controls about two-thirds of the wood pellet industry in our province. Evidence they have published is calling into question the claims that the industry is going further than just turning wood waste from the forestry industry into pellets, and instead are pelletizing whole trees and forests.
We are in a climate crisis! Our Minister of Forests continues to speak of our forests as if we obliged to cut them down and defending an industry that is combusting carbon and masquerading it as a renewable, clean, green, source of energy.
What can be worse? Well, Drax continues to lobby our BC NDP government and they continue to hand out public subsidies for their so-called renewable energy operations.
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
The Coastal GasLink pipeline controversy continues as the BC NDP allow the company to drill and blast under the Wedzin Kwa (also known as the Morice River) while it is full of spawning salmon.
The company faces a host of compliance issues with environmental regulations, meanwhile the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Hon. George Heyman, once again stands and defends his lack of real enforcement and accountability for the actions of the multinational corporation his BC NDP government is supporting.
The Minister has the duty to stop work if a company is not in compliance, yet he refuses to do it. Instead, he watches from the sidelines while an entire generation of wild Pacific salmon are threatened by the excessive noise and disruption of drilling and blasting under their spawning grounds.
Furthermore, earlier this week the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Hon. Murray Rankin, implored British Columbians to stop the violence against Indigenous women, girls, 2-spirit and gender-diverse people. Yet, just a few months ago his government was silent as the RCMP used a chainsaw to cut down the door of a cabin to arrest Indigenous women in their own territory. The BC NDP are proving to be virtuous in words alone.
When asked about why they continue to pay millions of dollars to defend Coastal GasLink, Ministers continue to hide behind an injunction that is in place only because they chose not to use peaceful diplomacy in the first place! And then we hear the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General suggest a violent attack against pipeline infrastructure earlier this year was the work of groups associate with the land defenders. This is a mind-boggling statement as I understand there is an investigation ongoing, and nobody has been arrested. If the Minister has public information otherwise, which he obviously does because he stated it in Question Period, he should release it tell the public when we can expect arrests to be made.
On behalf of the B.C. Green Caucus, I responded to the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Hon. Murray Rankin’s Ministerial Statement on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ National Day of Action.
Currently there is no province wide protection for bear dens. While they are protected on Haida Gwaii and in the Great Bear Rainforest, and some protection by logging companies for the vast majority of the province bear den habitat is vulnerable to logging.
The private members bill that I tabled today corrects that, and creates an offence for anyone who disturbs, molests, damages, or destroys a bear den.
The BC NDP government has committed to a paradigm shift in forestry and landscape management. To date, all we have seen is the status quo. By passing this bill they will take a positive step forward and demonstrate they are taking positive action to protect biodiversity in British Columbia.
If you support this policy change, please contact your MLA by phone or email and ask them to advocate for the BC NDP government to support this change.
Bills This Week
Bill 26 – Environmental Management Amendment Act, 2022
A simple two-clause change allowing conservation officers to refuse to return environmentally hazardous items that they have seized under a lawful warrantless search.
Bill 27 – Attorney General Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2022
Miscellaneous amendments to the Election Act, the Lobbyists Transparency Act, the Power of Attorney Act, the Queen’s Counsel Act, the Representation Agreement Act, and the Wills, Estates and Succession Act.
Bill 28 – Municipal Affairs Statutes (Property Taxation) Amendment Act, 2022
Gives municipalities and taxing Treaty First Nations the option to provide tax relief for tenants or owner-occupiers of class 5 and class 6 properties (light industry and business and other) who are struggling to pay property taxes due to the assessed value of the property’s development potential.
Bill 29 – Mortgage Services Act
Introduces the Mortgage Brokers Act with modern regulations for mortgage brokers, lenders, and administrators. It also addresses recommendations from the Cullen commission final report, including providing the authority to address the role private lenders play in money laundering in real estate.
Bill 30 – Cannabis Control and Licensing Amendment Act, 2022
Targets enforcement mechanisms for illegal cannabis producers.
Bill 31 – B.C. Pavilion Corporation Act
Repeals the British Columbia Enterprise Corporation Act and dissolve the British Columbia Enterprise Corporation, since it has not done anything in 30 years. It also preserves the powers of the BC Pavilion Corporation to ensure the ongoing management of BC Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Bill 32 – Gaming Control Act
Repeals the previous Gaming Control Act. The biggest change is the introduction of a “General Manager” position (the gaming regulator) with the authority to set and enforce restrictions on registrants, licensees, and the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC).
Bill 33 – Food Delivery Service Fee Act
Makes permanent the temporary fee cap protections for food delivery services that were implemented under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act.
2022 Budget Estimates are complete.
IN THE NEWS
CBC Political Panel
Listen in every Monday morning, 7:30 I’m on the CBC Political Panel on The Early Edition with Stephen Quinn | Live Radio | CBC Listen
Sold as green energy, B.C.’s wood pellet industry under fire
October 4, 2022 – Justine Hunter – Globe & Mail
Comment: The election is an existential moment for the Gulf Islands
October 5, 2022 – Frants Attorp – Times Colonist
Local MLA Adam Olsen critical of electoral boundaries commission proposal for Central Saanich
October 5, 2022 – Wolf Deppner – Peninsula News Review
Wood from B.C. forests is being burned for electricity billed as green — but critics say that’s deceptive
October 6, 2022 – Lyndsay Duncombe, Harvey Cashore, Lynette Fortune
BC Greens push for provincewide protection for bear den ‘nurseries’
October 7, 2022 – Rochelle Baker – National Observer
The Big Burn
October 7, 2022 – Lyndsay Duncombe – CBC Fifth Estate
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.