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Politics

B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver will not seek re-election in 2021

WATCH: BC Green Party leader announces retirement

The B.C. Green Party will soon be launching a search for a new leader.

Leader Andrew Weaver says he will not seek re-election in the next scheduled provincial election in 2021. Weaver has asked the party to begin preparations for selecting a new leader. He will continue in his role as leader until a successor has been chosen by the party’s membership.

READ MORE: Andrew Weaver sees bright future for BC Green Party even without proportional representation

“It is after a great deal of thought and reflection that I am announcing today that I will not be seeking another term as MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head,” Weaver said Monday. “I am making this announcement now so that the party has enough time to start the process of electing a new leader in preparation for the next provincial election.”

Weaver was hospitalized last month after being diagnosed with labyrinthitis, a condition that affects navigation and balance. Weaver has been back to work, including giving a speech at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference, following his bout with the illness.

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Weaver has had a history-making political career. In 2013, he became the first Green Party representative to win a seat in the B.C. Legislature.

WATCH (Aired December 23, 2018): Green Party leader Andrew Weaver sits down with Global reporter Richard Zussman for a year-end interview

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver sits down with Global reporter Richard Zussman for a year-end interview
Green Party leader Andrew Weaver sits down with Global reporter Richard Zussman for a year-end interview

Weaver led the party into the 2017 election where the Greens won three seats and held the balance of power in the B.C. legislature. The Greens decided to support the BC NDP and hand John Horgan the premier’s job.

READ MORE: B.C. NDP and Green party collaboration leads to top sustainability honour

“We have shown that minority governments can work well. They unite parties on issues of common ground. The foundation of this minority government is climate action, best represented by our collaboration on CleanBC — our economic plan to build a thriving, climate-responsible and climate-resilient society,” Weaver said.

“The decision not to run for re-election has not been easy for me. I feel a deep responsibility and pride for the role the B.C. Greens have played in getting the province back on track to meet its climate commitments and to reframe climate change as an economic opportunity instead of a purely environmental catastrophe.”

Adam Olsen and Sonia Furstenau also represent the Green Party in the B.C. Legislature. The party’s provincial council will meet later this month to put a leadership contest committee in place.

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This committee will be responsible for recommending contest rules and timeline, eligibility and vetting for provincial council.

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“Andrew propelled the B.C. Green Party into provincial relevance, and his decades of work as a climate scientist and then as an MLA greatly contributed to what we are seeing now with climate change being at the forefront of the national political conversation,” provincial council chair Sat Harwood said.

“We will miss him as our leader, but his legacy is part of every British Columbian who values clean water and clean air. Andrew is excited for the future because he sees all this energy around tackling climate change; he is leaving the B.C. Green Party well positioned to offer British Columbians a unifying and fair, sustainable and equitable option when they go to the polling station in 2021.

“I expect the leadership contest will culminate at the party’s 2020 convention to be held in Nanaimo from June 26-28, but details regarding the leadership contest, including a launch date, will be released in the coming weeks and months as they are approved by provincial council.”

— With files from The Canadian Press