ÍY SȻÁĆEL (Good Day),
Welcome to my weekly update for week one of the 2023 Spring legislative sitting for February 6-10, 2023.
In this edition of the newsletter, I will cover the work I did in the legislative chamber including tabling three private members’ bills (BILL M202 — Wildlife Amendment Act, 2023, BILL M203 — Correction Statutes Amendment Act, 2023, and BILL M204 — Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act, 2023), responding to Bill 2: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Act, the 2023 Speech from the Throne and Motion 12: Amendment to Standing Orders For Private Members’ Time.
In Question Period, I asked Hon. Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation about the oversight and environmental regulation and enforcement of oil and gas infrastructure projects. She did not answer, instead Hon. George Heyman, Minister of Environment stood and unsurprisingly disagreed with the premise of my question.
In the upcoming Spring break I will be hosting a series of community meetings in communities across the riding. You can more about where the meeting closest to you is being held at https://www.saanichnorthandtheislands.com/events
I look forward to discussing with you the provincial issues and concerns that are important to you.
The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) continues to undertake a community consultation about whether the Bamberton Projects should have an environmental assessment.
They have heard from hundreds of local residents their concern about this project and they have extended the deadline for submitting your comments. Find out more information below that was extracted from the EAO website.
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
February 9, 2023
As the Coastal GasLink Pipeline construction continues across Northern British Columbia reports of the operators flouting environmental and cultural regulations continue to be made public.
As the infractions pile up and the penalties amount to less than a rounding error, Coastal GasLink has just turned the B.C. government fines into a cost of doing business.
I asked the new Minister of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation, Hon. Josie Osborne what she thinks about the regulation and enforcement environment. She did not answer, instead the Minister of the Environment, Hon. George Heyman stood.
The BC NDP government said in the Speech from the Throne that they reward those who play by the rules, however, when it come to the oil and gas industry they are setting a dangerous precedent by rewarding those who break the rules also.
February 9, 2023
Government House Leader Hon. Ravi Kahlon amended the standing orders, the rules which guide the operation of the Legislative Assembly, to switch the order of time for Private Members’ motions and statements.
These “debates” occur on Monday mornings. While this is a rather innocuous change the reality is that Monday morning business has been problematic for more than two decades. Members’ debate important issues but by there has been agreement by the House Leaders to have no vote.
The BC Legislative Assembly is one of the few in Canada where Private Members’ Bills have no chance of debate. This needs to change and all three House Leaders have been working to change this anti-democratic feature of our Parliament.
In this speech I highlight my hope that change will be coming in the near future.
February 9, 2023
Bill 2: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Act
The British Columbia government is making the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a statutory holiday.
It was recommended that governments created a day for truth and reconciliation which the federal government did two years ago.
In my second reading speech I outline the importance of this day as an opportunity to learn more about our history, honour the survivors of residential and day schools.
I call on the provincial government to create a fund to support community and regional efforts to host events to support increased opportunities for learning and remembering.
February 8, 2023
New Legislation Aims to Increase Transparency, Protect Bear Dens, Limit Use of Solitary Confinement
I introduced several pieces of legislation, including repealing the $10 fee for freedom-of-information (FOI) requests, protecting bear dens, and banning prolonged solitary confinement in corrections facilities.
These pieces of legislation are aimed at making British Columbia a more transparent and safer place to be for all British Columbians and our environment. Introducing these bills today means prioritizing the conversation around good ideas coming from all sides of the house.
British Columbia continues to be an outlier in Canada in how Private Members’ bills are handled. There is basically no pathway for Opposition Members and Government backbenchers to propose public policy and have it debated and voted on. The public expects their representative to be able to propose public policy and have it considered.
The B.C. Green Caucus appreciated the initial step Premier David Eby took, in his former role as Attorney General, to improve the quality of private members amendments and bills by providing access to the legislative drafters. There are a variety of successful approaches across the country and in the spirit of our democratic institution I sincerely hope Premier Eby and Government House Leader Hon. Ravi Kahlon takes the next logical step to reform the process for consideration of Private Members’ bills, debate and vote.
Bill 2 National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Act – Introduced
This bill will make Sept 30 a provincial statutory holiday to honour residential school survivors and support truth and reconciliation. It’s been a federal stat holiday the last couple years.
Bill 3, Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, introduced
This bill would make changes to eight pieces of legislation: Statute Revision Act, Hospital Act and Medicare Protection Act, Protected Areas of British Columbia Act, Park Act and Ecological Reserve Act, Special Accounts Appropriation and Control Act, Local Government Act, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and Insurance Corporation Act.
If passed, the bill would give BC Parks the ability to determine administrative penalties for violating regulations in ecological reserves and parks. It would also require municipalities to serve notice to a property owner or mortgage holder if they intend to sell their property.
Bill 4, Finance Statutes Amendment Act – Introduced
This bill would strengthen the BC Securities Commission’s ability to combat white-collar crime by closing loopholes around penalty collection, adding consequences for investment crimes that will help victims, and enhancing the commission’s evidence-gathering powers.
2023 Budget Estimates will begin in early March.
BAMBERTON QUARRY PUBLIC CONSULTATION
*** NOTICE ***
If you previously submitted information to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Ministry of Forests, or Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation you need to resubmit your comments on the proposed expansion of the Bamberton Quarry to the Environmental Assessment Office. Apologies for the inconvenience! Please read the information below for more details. Thank you.
Public Comment Period is Now Open
DEADLINE EXTENDED ONE WEEK!
Jan 17, 2023 – February 21 @ 11:59 PM PST
Comment Period on the Designation Request for Bamberton Projects Project.
The public is invited to participate in the public comment period on the EAO’s draft report on its review of the request to require the Bamberton Projects to undergo an environmental assessment. The Bamberton Projects proposed by Malahat Investment Corporation and Malahat Nation include an expansion of the existing Bamberton quarry and associated activities near Mill Bay, B.C.
The increases to the production levels and the physical area of operations proposed do not meet the thresholds to automatically require an environmental assessment. However the Saanich Inlet Protection Society made a formal application to the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) in November 2022, to have the project and additional activities including barging, and storage and transportation of contaminated soils and fuel, designated as reviewable. Reviewable projects require an environmental assessment by the EAO – and an environmental assessment certificate – to proceed.
The proposed quarry expansion would increase the disturbance area of the quarry from 39.3 ha to 45.7 ha (a 16% increase). [Note: a discrepancy in the previously calculated amount of new disturbance area was discovered. These updated figures reflect this additional analysis]. The proposed expansion also includes an increase to the production capacity of the quarry from 240,00 to 479,000 tonnes per year (a 99.6% increase).
To automatically trigger an environmental assessment by the EAO, regulations stipulate that a quarry project must meet both of the following guidelines:
increase of 50% or greater to the previously permitted area (the area of land that can be disturbed); and
an annual production rate exceeding 250,000 tonnes or more.
The EAO is seeking public feedback on its draft report, which was prepared after a review of information from the Saanich Inlet Protection Society, Malahat Investment Corporation, potentially affected Indigenous nations, and local, provincial and federal government experts. The draft report analyses the factors for consideration in making the decision about whether or not the project and associated activities should be designated as reviewable.
The purpose of the EAO in carrying out environmental assessments is to promote sustainability, by protecting the environment and fostering a sound economy and the well-being of British Columbians and their communities, and to support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in B.C.
Feedback from the public during the upcoming comment period will inform the EAO’s final report, which will be provided to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, who will decide whether the project should require an environmental assessment. Comment using the “Submit Comment” button, or by mail at:
Environmental Assessment Office (Attn: Matthew Rodgers)PO Box 9426 Stn Prov GovtVictoria BC V8W 9V1
A virtual information session was be held on February 2, 2023. Copies of the presentations from the session, as well as questions and answers that were not able to be answered during the session will be posted here soon.
The next round of community meetings will be hosted from March 10-18, 2023.
Join MLA Adam Olsen to discuss topics relating to the provincial government. Community meetings are open to the public and completely non-partisan.
On Mayne, Galiano, Pender and Saturna Islands, CRD Director Paul Brent, and on Salt Spring Island, CRD Director Gary Holman, will join MLA Olsen to highlight, update, and answer questions on the work they do together to represent and support the Gulf Island communities.
Please share these events with you friends and neighbours!
Friday March 10, 2023
6:30 – 8:00pm
Mayne Island Agricultural Hall
430 Fernhill Rd
Monday March 13, 2023
5:30 – 7:00pm
9840 Third St.
Tuesday March 14, 2023
6:30 – 8:00pm
Galiano South Community Hall
141 Sturdies Bay Rd
Thursday March 16, 2023
5:30 – 7:00pm
Pender Island Community Hall
4418 Bedwell Harbour Road
Salt Spring Island
Friday March 17, 2023
5:30 – 7:00pm
2591 Fulford-Ganges Road
Saturday March 18, 2023
1:30 – 3:00pm
Saturna Island Community Hall
105 E Point Rd
Learn more about upcoming events at https://www.saanichnorthandtheislands.com
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
February 6, 2023 — CBC Political Panel – Political Panel: David Eby’s first throne speech as premier
Host Stephen Quinn with Dianne Watts, Moe Sihota and Adam Olsen
February 5, 2023 — MLA Column — Adam Olsen – The Public Circle aims to increase transparency and accessibility
Peninsula News Review
February 10, 2023 – Green Party MLA Olsen proposes scrapping BC NDP’s FOI application fee
New Westminster Record
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.
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