VICTORIA, B.C. – B.C. Green MLAs Sonia Furstenau (Cowichan Valley) and Adam Olsen (Saanich North and the Islands) concluded a successful Legislative session where they held government accountable on a range of key issues.
MLA Furstenau and MLA Olsen focused on the government’s lack of transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic, its failure to keep its promises on protecting old-growth forests, and its lack of action on the drug toxicity crisis. They also highlighted the government’s failure to meet its commitments on the climate crisis and the need to take stronger action on mental health and Indigenous reconciliation.
“Adam and I worked hard to ensure British Columbians’ voices were brought to the Legislature this session,” said MLA Furstenau. “Since the BC NDP assumed the majority, we have seen a worrying trend towards less collaboration, transparency, and accountability. British Columbians were forced to choose a new government in the middle of the pandemic, which made focusing on long-term issues more difficult. Now, as we emerge from COVID-19, it is critical that the government has a plan with clearly stated outcomes to address the overlapping crises of drug toxicity, mental health, and climate change that are putting our economy and communities at risk.”
MLA Furstenau introduced a Private Members Bill to amend the Health Act regulating counsellors and social workers with support from FACT BC and BC Psychological association, a step forward towards bringing mental health under MSP. The caucus also introduced two amendments to improve the government's paid sick leave legislation. These amendments would have increased the number of paid sick days from three to five and provided the eventual permanent paid sick leave program with legislative oversight, which the government chose not to advance.
MLA Olsen successfully advocated for an Amendment to Treaty rights in the Firearm Violence Prevention Act. In the wake of the preliminary findings of 215 children buried in a mass unmarked grave at Kamloops Residential School, MLA Olsen called on the government to step up its reconciliation efforts by following through on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action here in British Columbia. His powerful speech gained widespread attention across the country.
“I was honoured to serve as a voice for two of the issues that were top of mind for British Columbians this session - the protection of our remaining old growth forests and our country’s need to reconcile with our history of racism and colonialism,” said MLA Olsen.
“This NDP government often says the right words, but fails to follow through with actions that will actually make an impact. I’m committed to pressing them to keep their promises and deliver the progress that British Columbians want to see.”
B.C. Green Caucus
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