This story was first published on the morning of Oct. 7, 2019. Go here to read the latest news about Andrew Weaver’s resignation.
B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver is expected to announce his intent to resign as head of the party on Monday, just weeks after a health scare landed him in a hospital emergency room.
Mr. Weaver, who currently leads a caucus that holds the balance of power in British Columbia’s minority government, will not be resigning his seat in Oak Bay-Gordon Head, so his decision will not upset the fragile balance in the legislature.
The BC NDP holds 41 seats, the Greens three and the Opposition Liberals 42. Speaker Darryl Plecas sits as an independent.
The Greens called a news conference for Monday morning, at the start of the fall session of the legislature, promising a “significant announcement” by Mr. Weaver.
An official close to Mr. Weaver, who is not being identified by The Globe and Mail because they were not authorized to speak about this issue, said the announcement would focus on the next stage for the party.
Mr. Weaver suddenly fell ill just before delivering a speech at a conference on Sept. 10. He tweeted about the experience a week later, thanking hospital staff for the treatment he received. “If anyone out there ever suffers a bout of labyrinthitis, I advise you to prepare for a debilitating onslaught of symptoms that are unsettling,” he warned.
Labyrinthitis is an inner ear disorder that can cause vertigo, nausea, ringing in the ears and loss of hearing.
He said he expected to return to “full fighting form” after taking a rest. But the experience prompted an evaluation of his work-life balance. “It is important to remember that we must all take time to care for ourselves,” he said later in a statement.
Mr. Weaver, first elected in 2013, is an advocate for term limits for elected officials. He introduced a private member’s bill in February that would have set a maximum term of 12 years for MLAs. “The purpose of this bill is to ensure that those seeking elected office recognize that serving the people of British Columbia should be interpreted as a sense of civic duty, not a career path,” he wrote in his blog.
In the legislature, he said: “The general public have become cynical about politics and career politicians. Voter turnout is on the decline. By introducing term limits, certain elected officials will be freed up to think about the long-term consequences of their decisions, rather than just their re-election goals. It will ensure a continued rejuvenation of this legislature.”
A climate scientist who turned to politics in 2012, Mr. Weaver was the first Green elected to the B.C. Legislature. He did not run for his party’s leadership until 2015.
The 2017 election resulted in a deadlock. Mr. Weaver and two new Green MLAs, Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen, negotiated a confidence-and-supply agreement with the NDP, which requires that the Greens support the NDP when the confidence of the government is tested – primarily on budget matters. In exchange, the NDP consults with and provides briefings to the Greens on legislation, budgets, senior appointments and policy – within the bounds of cabinet confidentiality. Together, the parties had enough seats to persuade the Lieutenant-Governor to ask NDP Leader John Horgan to form a government.
The Green-NDP pact has survived for more than two years, exceeding expectations for a minority government in Canada. However, it has been strained at times, particularly over the NDP government’s pursuit of a liquefied natural gas industry. “If BCNDP caucus continue the generational sellout embodied in the LNG folly of the BC Liberals, their government will fall,” Mr. Weaver tweeted in January, 2018, in response to a Globe story on the conflict between the LNG industry and climate action.
The government eventually approved the $40-billion LNG Canada project in Kitimat, but Mr. Weaver agreed to work on a climate-action plan that would create room for the project while still aiming to meet the province’s emissions targets.
Before entering politics, Mr. Weaver was a lead author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the group that, with Al Gore, won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
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