Column: Distraction, inaction, and gaslighting: Holding the government accountable

May 9, 2023 | Blog, Community, MLA Column | 1 comment

When he was sworn in as premier, David Eby was right to say, “We cannot continue to expand fossil fuel infrastructure and hit our climate goals.”

So why did his government approve Cedar LNG a few months later?

As a politician, I know governments like short-term wins because they’re looking for political points. But we need the BC NDP to stop using short-term thinking and focus on the well-being of British Columbians, the health of the planet and the economic sustainability of our province.

In fact, this government is using distraction tactics to hide its climate offences. It approved a new LNG project before quickly announcing a flimsy framework to cap oil and gas emissions. The government knows it is choosing the status quo over the environment with the Cedar LNG approval, so it counters with a framework announcement that has little substance and, until we see the details, needs to be seen for what it is — political cover.

Climate action is not a points system. Corporations and governments should be striving to be climate leaders and make the decisions that cannot be made by everyday people. You can turn off your lights and take shorter showers every day (which are good things to do) and you still won’t make the impact that committed CEOs can in one board meeting.

The gaslighting from the government is exhausting. We’re growing weary of the constant cycle of disappointment that we live in as our provincial government promises climate action one minute and approves new gas pipeline projects the next. But if we’re frustrated, how do younger generations feel?

They struggle with constant news items reminding them how close we are to a catastrophic tipping point, or how far past it we’ve gone. Theirs is a world where species going extinct is well-documented, along with melting ice caps, and microplastics filling our oceans, our food and our bodies. They’ve grown up in a world where their own future is uncertain. How can they look forward to and plan for a perilous future?

With their futures at stake, many young people are becoming the loudest voices when it comes to climate change. They are finding their platform in politics years before they can legally vote, and they are garnering the attention of many.

The reality is, all of us need to come together, now more than ever. Only a few years ago, we mobilized and responded to COVID-19 with unprecedented force that united us all under one common goal. Why can’t that same energy be applied to saving the Earth?

What I’m asking of you is surprisingly simple.

Open your email account and write a message to your MLA. Open your Twitter and write a tweet to David Eby. Share your disappointment and share your frustration. But also share your hopefulness that your government can make different decisions about our future.

Premier Eby has made it abundantly clear that the only thing his party cares about is what affects its popularity. So make this your deal-breaker. Harness your individual voting power and make a real impact with it. Tell the BC NDP that if they don’t start giving a damn about the environment, you won’t vote for them. The world won’t change when we stay at home and hope for the best, so help us make sure there’s a future out there worth fighting for.

Adam Olsen (SȾHENEP) was elected member of the legislative assembly for Saanich North and the Islands in 2017. As a member of the BC Green Caucus, Adam serves as the caucus chair in addition to serving on several all-party committees.

This column was originally published on May 8, 2023, in the National Observer.

1 Comment

  1. Lee York

    Very well said. Fortunately, you are my MLA, who I continue to support, and will continue to rely on you to be my voice in opposition to this spineless government


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