It is such an honour to welcome you to New Westminster for this year’s BC Green convention. The last time the party met for its annual meeting in the Lower Mainland was in Vancouver in 2013, just after we had elected our very first MLA, Andrew Weaver.
It is staggering to consider how far we have come since that meeting. Our support across British Columbia has risen to 21% in the latest poll. We now have a caucus. Through our confidence and supply agreement, we have brought new voices and new issues to the table. Our own private member’s bills have become law. Many key pieces of our most recent platform are now law or government policy. And we have shown that it is possible to do politics differently, by working across party lines where there is common ground. Indeed, British Columbians are better off today because of our work.
Here in New West, things are also changing. We are embracing sustainability and the new economy. We are one of the densest cities in the Metro region, prioritizing accessibility and community development. Our city council declared a climate emergency in March and has made significant investments in high tech and fibre optics. These are the types of changes we need to make as a society to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
In the last year, a major new figure in climate leadership has emerged. Greta Thunberg, a 15-year old Swedish high school student, has captivated much of the world for simply doing what she could to draw attention to climate change. In doing so, she has inspired millions upon millions of people around the world to join her in her school strikes for climate.
But Greta is not the only one to take up the mantle of climate leadership. Youth around the world are taking their future into their own hands. As our party leader, Andrew Weaver says, it is the youth who will bear the consequences of the decisions that we make today. While it may be politically expedient to make decisions that benefit us in the short-term, it is unethical and irresponsible to make future generations pay for those decisions. To build a world we will be proud to pass on to the next generation, each and every one of us must offer what we can in time, energy, experience and finances. Truly, we lead together.
This convention, we are focusing on the leadership required of all of us, and how youth have embraced that leadership. We will also hear from our extraordinary caucus, who have sought a path of elected leadership to move government in directions that will support us and future generations.
We would like to thank Lesley Malcolm, one of our party’s field coordinators and a volunteer director on the New West riding association executive, who has poured her heart and soul into organizing this year’s convention. We would also like to thank our caucus – Andrew, Sonia and Adam – for showing us what is possible when Greens are elected and lead with their values. And we'd like to thank you for your support. The challenges of the 21st century are significant, but together, we will turn them into our greatest opportunities.
Jonina Campbell and Kinsale Philip
Co-hosts, 2019 BC Green Convention