[Media Release] BC Greens to introduce Bill on ridesharing, call for public dialogue

VICTORIA, B.C. –  Dr. Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, will be tabling legislation later today intended to start a public dialogue about the rules we need to make ridesharing a reality for British Columbia.

“Provinces and cities across Canada and throughout North America have been using ridesharing technology for years,” said Andrew Weaver. “Yet British Columbians have only heard mixed things from this government. When the cabinet minister responsible for developing regulations for ridesharing services calls these emerging companies ‘pushy’, it isn’t setting the right tone.”  

To fill this gap, the BC Green Party will launch a public survey on their website today that will give British Columbians a chance to take part in a conversation about ridesharing and the evolving creative economy. Results will be published later this spring.

“I think it's time the conversation was more transparent and engaged actual British Columbians  about what they want to see happen with these innovative new services,” said Andrew Weaver. “There are numerous voices calling for this government to truly support the emerging tech sector. For some reason, they are having a hard time being heard by this government.”

Earlier this year, 22 CEOs and founders from Vancouver’s tech industry wrote an open letter to the BC government, warning of the chilling impact felt by entrepreneurs when they see evidence that their innovations can be easily blocked by outdated regulations. This letter led the Green party to begin working on the private member’s bill.

Matt Toner, Deputy Leader of the BC Green Party and a local tech CEO himself, has been carrying out an ongoing outreach program with that industry to better understand not just the opportunities they create, but also their needs and concerns.  The Uber example is one that is often cited.  

“Government policies matter and, of course, government actions matter even more.  But, as we have seen just this past weekend, the tone coming from policymakers is also important.” said Matt Toner. “Any new innovation will cause some economic disruption and we’re sensitive to that.  But at the same time, ridesharing has tremendous potential to herald a new wave of efficient and fundamentally green technologies. If we are going to get serious about climate change, we need to tackle it in every way possible.”

The BC Green Party is calling for a clear public timeline for introducing ridesharing to BC. This process needs to involve intensive consultation with municipal governments, the BC Taxi Association, and individual British Columbians across the province.

More details about the Bill will be available when it is tabled in the Legislature at 2:00pm.

Matt Toner will be available for comment at East Side Games (116 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC) between 10:00-10:30am. He is joined by Josh Nilson, Co-Founder East Side Games and Shafin Diamond Terjani, Founder of Victory Square. Nilson and Terjani both signed the open letter earlier this year.

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Media contact:
Matt Toner – Deputy Leader, Critic for Finance and the New Economy
BC Green Party
1 604 642 6705
[email protected]

Stefan Jonsson – Director of Communications
BC Green Party
1 250 514 0288
[email protected]

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