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Ex-BC Green leader who helped NDP come to power slams Premier David Eby

Click to play video: 'Former Green Party leader says British Columbians voters want change'
Former Green Party leader says British Columbians voters want change
The former leader of the BC Green Party, who formed a confidence and supply agreement with John Horgan after the 2017 election, has harsh criticism for David Eby. Andrew Weaver says people who have been previous supporters of the NDP are now looking for an alternative and are desperate for change. Richard Zussman explains.

The former leader of the BC Green Party, who was instrumental in the BC NDP’s rise to power, is levelling some sharp criticism of the current premier.

Andrew Weaver is criticizing Premier David Eby’s leadership, alleging it may be responsible for an exodus of sitting MLAs and pushing away longtime party supporters.

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B.C. political parties look to sway Surrey voters

As leader of the BC Green Party, Weaver signed a Confidence and Supply Agreement that allowed John Horgan to form a minority NDP government following the 2017 provincial election.

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Weaver said Eby’s style contrasts sharply Horgan’s, who he lauded for listening to different opinions and working towards consensus.

“Mr. Eby doesn’t listen. He knows what he wants to do,” he said.

“He’s not bringing people with him, he is coming across as ‘I know what’s best for you.'”

The criticism comes after several key NDP ministers announced they would not seek re-election, including Transportation Minister Rob Fleming, Labour Minister Harry Bains and Forests Minister Bruce Ralston.

Weaver said he is speaking out after hearing concerns about Eby’s NDP in Victoria.

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Weaver argued Eby’s “ideological” governing style is a factor in the rise of the BC Conservatives, who are now polling in second place behind the NDP.

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“I understand why the Conservatives are rising. People are angry, they are angry because they don’t feel heard on so many issues,” he said.

“They don’t feel heard on the law and order issue, they don’t feel heard on the healthcare issue with respect to family doctors.”

Weaver, who rose to prominence as a climate scientist, also brushed off concerns about BC Conservative Leader John Rustad’s stand on climate change. The Conservative leader, he suggested, could be convinced to see climate action as an opportunity for innovation.

“That is, I think, where Mr. Rustad would listen,” he said.

Rustad has stated that climate change “is not a crisis,” and in a recent interview with the Globe and Mail claimed the science behind human-caused climate warming is “a theory and it’s not proven.”

That’s a fact senior members of the BC NDP were quick to seize on as they defended the premier.

“It’s difficult to take that seriously when the leader of the BC Conservatives doesn’t believe in climate change and won’t confirm he thinks this is something that is human-caused,” Energy and Mines minister Josie Osborne said.

The critique comes as campaign finance data shows the BC Conservatives making gains. In the last fiscal quarter, the party raised $1.1 million.

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That’s a record for the Conservatives, but still just half the $2.1 million the BC NDP took in over the same period. BC United raised $627,000.

University of the Fraser Valley political scientist Hamish Telford said that while Eby has been premier for some time now, many people may still not know him well, given they don’t follow politics closely outside of election periods.

“He’s going to have to present himself … and start to try and connect with (voters), and that’s going to be all the more difficult with opposition parties as well as other voices in the media, social media, ex-politicians weighing in on him,” he said.

“Whether Mr Weaver has any particular influence anymore in this regard I am not convinced. I think if Mr. Weaver has things to say about climate change people would be willing to listen, but his opinion on the premier or former colleagues in the Green Party, I am not sure if people care much.

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As for his former party, Weaver said he believes the BC Greens are no longer a factor in provincial politics, and will be completely wiped out in the upcoming election.

British Columbians will go to the polls on Oct. 19.

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