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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 -- Success comes from remaining receptive to advice and maintaining a healthy balance of confidence and humility

My responses are not perfect. I have
made, and continue to make, mistakes

In the course of my job, I’m regularly reminded of my mistakes, inadequacies and blind spots. I heed the advice without taking the criticism personally.

I make mistakes. Not all my responses are adequate. I have blind spots.

Recently a constituent let me know that he felt my actions during the labour disruption in the Saanich schools would not be forgotten in the next election!

What do you mean?” I asked.

Well, according to this him (and some in his coffee group), I did not bring enough “venom” against the government. Apparently, I’m too nice.

I accept the critique.

The challenge is balancing the frequency that venom is used ... and the dose that is delivered in any given situation. Care must be taken. Venom is only one tool and, if it is used too liberally, people grow a resistance to it essentially rendering it ineffectual.

There is no prescriptive guide. Each event in the course of my work requires analysis and action. Sometimes, the event requires immediate attention; in other instances, there is the benefit of time. 

On some occasions, it takes a while for all the information to be revealed and the initial response requires tuning.

My responses are not perfect. I have made and continue to make mistakes. Over the past decade, I’ve learned a lot about how I respond and, with each new incident, I get more information and have the opportunity to learn and improve. 


Success comes from remaining receptive to advice and maintaining a healthy balance of confidence and humility.

I have a long way to go. Perfection is not my goal. My goal is quite simply to identify the cracks and close as many of them as I can.

I’ve been a candidate in four elections. From what I’ve experienced in the past, it’s a certainty that in the next election, the electorate will remember a lot about the job I did as their provincial representative.

They will remember the things they think I did well, and they will not have forgotten the things they wished I did better.

The only way to improve is to be willing and open to listen and hear all the thoughts and opinions of my constituents: the good, the bad and the indifferent.


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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