ÍY SȻÁĆEL (Good Day),
Welcome to my weekly update for week two of the 2023 Spring legislative sitting for February 13-17, 2023.
The second week of the Spring legislative sitting was a total mess!
In this weekly update I highlight how the mismanagement of the legislative calendar and agenda had Minister’s proving to be woefully unprepared to do their work, and the Government House Leader, Hon. Ravi Kahlon forced to adjourn 4 hours early because there was nothing he was willing to debate.
Premier David Eby’s government is proving totally unprepared to do the job.
In Question Period, I asked two questions about the province’s nascent LNG industry and the proposed expansion of the Bamberton quarry in the Saanich Inlet. In my Statement this week I honoured my late-uncle TEMOSEṈŦET, Dr. Charles Elliott.
In addition to providing information about how you can participate in the environmental assessment for the quarry project I also provide information about how you can donate to support the earthquake survivors in Turkey.
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 13, 2023
The Saanich Inlet continues to be threatened by the industrial expansion of a quarry at Bamberton.
Despite Minister of Environment, George Heyman’s suggestion the environmental assessment (EA) process is working as it should, the only reason and EA is even being considered is because the Saanich Inlet Protection Society wrote the Minister demanding it. Even then the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) recommends against it.
This is all in the shadow of a study from 1996 that stated clearly that “the level of protection must be based on the most sensitive human or ecological use” and that the precautionary principle must be applied when questions or gaps exist.
The Douglas Treaty protects the right to fish as formerly, this government has a responsibility to protect those rights, recognize, and limit the cumulative impacts of industrial, commercial and residential development on that promise.
The Minister, his Ministry, the EAO, and our community know better. Our community deserves better.
February 14, 2023
The BC NDP have an LNG problem.
They have committed to meet our 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas emissions targets. They have continually promoted the CleanBC climate action plan, calling it “world-leading” and “award winning.”
They know that the first half of the LNG Canada project currently being built in Kitimat barely fits into their plan. Now, LNG Canada proposes to go ahead with phase two, which has already been approved, and there are other LNG projects waiting in the wings as well.
The BC NDP have said that all new fossil fuel projects need to fit in their CleanBC plan. They know it is not possible for these projects to go ahead and still be able to meet the climate targets, so why don’t they just say they won’t support these proposals.
This is an issue that the BC NDP needs to reconcile, and soon! While the Minister of Environment, George Heyman, rejects the premise of my questions the day of reckoning for he and his government is coming soon.
So what is it? Premier David Eby’s commitment to no new fossil fuel infrastructure, or a total failure to meet our emissions targets?
February 16, 2023
For the past week my colleague Sonia Furstenau and I have been asking about resource development, specifically liquefied natural gas (LNG).
In this question, I switch from primarily a climate focus to what plan the BC NDP government has for the 18,000 people working on the four mega-projects (LNG Canada, Site C, Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipelines) that will be coming to a completion soon.
A boom and bust economy is neither good in the boom or the bust. As the forestry industry is in decline, the BC NDP has a decision in front of them about what they are going to do about the multiple proposals ready to ramp up the LNG industry.
The BC NDP response focusses on the insufficient programs they have currently underway to support workers. They have absolutely no response for the thousands of workers that will be displaced once these projects are completed.
February 16, 2023
In Members’ Statements, I offered a few words to mark the passing of my uncle TEMOSEṈŦET, Dr. Charles Elliott.
February 16, 2023
Bill 2: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Act: Warning the BC NDP government against filibustering bill for Truth and Reconciliation Day
February 15 & 16, 2023 were terrible days in the legislature for David Eby’s BC NDP government.
I have been deeply concerned about how the provincial government has mismanaged the legislative calendar and agenda for months now. I’ve written about it several times. (BC NDP Must Stop Undermining Democracy and Trust in Government – MLA COLUMN: The Public Circle aims to increase transparency and accessibility)
This week it went from bad to awful. On Wednesday, they failed to get Ministers in the Chamber, supported by staff and information, to answer basic questions about their own bills. Then when they failed to stand up a Member to respond to the Throne Speech, debate was closed and a vote called.
This took away one of government’s fallback time fillers – the response to the Throne Speech. The government can fill more than 25 hours debating the Throne Speech. Once it is voted on however, if they don’t have bills on the order paper, and the budget is not yet delivered by the Finance Minister, the Government House Leader, Hon. Ravi Kahlon, is left with nothing.
This may all seem like a big nothing-burger to the public. But, it is a big deal. Remember, this is the crew that is managing the rest of the province too, and if they cannot effectively manage a calendar and agenda, I urge British Columbians to be concerned!
The government and opposition house leaders have been in conversation for more than a year to find a way to better utilize private members time. The British Columbia assembly is one of the least democratic in the country. The government uses their power to all but shut out anyone other than Cabinet Minister from proposing bills. Well, the other Members can propose them, but they are almost never debated and voted on.
On Monday, I was told that enabling a committee to look at this issue was not a priority for government right now, perhaps in a couple of months. Then when they were left with nothing else to debate on Thursday afternoon, suddenly private members bills were a priority and several backbench NDP MLAs wanted to speak to a motion that had to be tabled without notice.
Well, the Government House Leader was not granted leave to introduce the motion and so he had nothing to debate except committee stage of Bill 2: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Act. If the opposition has no questions, then the Speaker closes debate and calls the vote.
Then we witnessed in the rarest occurrence in my 6 years in the assembly – NDP MLAs asking the Minister questions. They were prepared to filibuster their own bill that already had the unanimous support of the MLAs. It was a shameful display, especially considering the topic content.
After two days of total mismanagement of our democratic institution, I stood to warn the government against leveraging a bill that demands British Columbians pay respect to the survivors of the horrific residential schools.
I warned the BC NDP that they were treading on dangerous territory. After all the point of the bill is to recognize the abusive behaviour of Crown governments toward Indigenous people. They were about to cross the line. I reminded them that dragging out the discussion because they can’t properly manage their own business is disrespectful. Residential school history is not an easy topic for Indigenous people and must be done respectfully.
It was an embarrassing afternoon not only for the BC NDP government but for all MLAs. The Government House Leader was forced to adjourn four hours early, which he will certainly be reminded of if he tries to invoke time allocation on bills at the end of the session, and as many times as needed in between.
I have already shared my second reading speech for Bill 2 where I highlight the sensitivity of a day of remembrance for Truth and Reconciliation. I’m sharing it again below for context to my remarks above.
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.
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.
Information copied from the Environmental Assessment website.
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 Govt
Victoria 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!
EARTHQUAKE DONATIONS DROP-OFF
We are working with local community members to support the recovery effort.
Drop off donations to the Saanich North and the Islands Community Office during business hours.
These are the most needed items, at this time:
- Winter Clothing (adult & child)
- Raincoats, Parkas and coat liners
- Jumpers, Trousers
- Gloves, Scarves
- Socks and underwear
- Tents, camping foam sleeping rolls
- Sleeping bags, Blankets
- Thermoses, Food kits (non-perishable)
- Baby food, Diapers
- Cleaning and hygiene supplies
- Women’s hygiene products
- Flashlights (without batteries)
- Handling equipment (eg. Halters)
- First aid kits
Thank you, for anything you can contribute.