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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

ADAM OLSEN -- Is the role, of the opposition, to simply oppose everything the government does?



In a recent podcast with my brother-in-law Nick Gilchrist, we discuss the process for bringing a Bill forward, the formal Legislative steps it goes through prior to adoption, and the role of the opposition in the process.

He asked me if the role of the opposition is to just simply oppose everything the government does?

His question highlights an important point for me, as a Member of the Opposition Green Party. This is where there is confusion between governance and politics.

A Member motivated by good governance asks: “How can I make this Bill better?”

A Member motivated by politics asks: “How can I make government look silly?”

Opposition has a role, on behalf of all British Columbians, to hold government accountable -- to ask questions, poke, prod, push, pull, dig and test. Our job is to ensure Bills withstand the tests.


The official opposition do much of this work on the floor once the Bill is introduced. If a Bill does not withstand the legislative tests then it will be opposed.

The BC Green Caucus is in a unique situation.

Due to our ‘Confidence and Supply Agreement’ with the BC NDP, the government consults with us on some legislation much earlier, and more often. This is not always the case and some Ministries do a much more thorough job than others.

With our confrontational system of government, there will always be some level of politics played as political parties’ angle to advance themselves in mind of the voters.

The problem is when the politics overtakes the governance.

It’s a fine line; however, it’s helpful to ask the question ... “Are they trying to improve the work, or just make government look silly?


Adam Olsen ... is a Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Saanich North and the Islands. Born in Victoria, BC in 1976, Adam has lived, worked and played his entire life on the Saanich Peninsula. He is a member of Tsartlip First Nation (W̱JOȽEȽP), where he and his wife, Emily, are raising their two children, Silas and Ella.

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