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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 -- While I will not be leader of the BC Greens, I will work with my colleagues to continue to build a diverse, inclusive and modern political party

Green Party MLA, and soon Interim
Leader, Adam Olsen

When Green Party leader Andrew Weaver announced that he would not be seeking re-election the next time British Columbians go to the polls and that he had asked the BC Greens provincial council to begin the process of electing another leader, I immediately began fielding questions about whether I intended on putting my name on the ballot.

At that time, I did not know. It was the beginning of the fall session and, while I did know in advance that Andrew's announcement was coming, I did not have the time to turn my full consideration to whether I was going to run for leader or not.

A few weeks later Andrew made his second announcement that he would step down as the leader when the leadership contest began in early 2020. This meant that there were essentially two leadership roles in the party that I needed to consider: the full-time leader and an interim-leader.

In the weeks that followed Andrew's announcement, it was increasingly clear to me that it was not the right time in my life to step forward.

Having worked closely with Andrew and former Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May, I have a deep respect for the requirements of the job. My life is busy, I have a strong commitment to my constituency and legislative work and continuing to grow into my role as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. In addition, I have a young family and so when I added up all of these considerations, including the sage advice to be patient, I knew this was not my time.

This week the BC Green Party announced the rules of the leadership contest. It will begin on January 6, 2020 and end on June 26, 2020. As Andrew will be stepping down as the leader when the contest begins, the interim-leader will be an incredibly important steward of the party through these exciting months.

With a critical Spring 2020 legislative session ahead and a leadership contest underway, I am thrilled to have been asked to serve as the interim-leader. It will be my second stint in the role as I previously served as the interim-leader for nearly two years following the 2013 election.

The rules of the leadership contest provide an opportunity for growth for the BC Greens. We strive to be a more diverse and inclusive party. We have a lot of work to do in that regard and so to that end the party is opening up the contest to a wider audience by welcoming party members and supporters over 16 years of age to get involved.

We have long advocated to change the voting age in British Columbia, and while the evolution is slow with our colleagues in other parties, we are taking the step in this leadership race to welcome the participation of 16- and 17-years olds. Also, no longer do you need to be a member to have a say, you can register with the party as a "supporter" to cast a vote for the next leader of the BC Greens.

It will be a fascinating first half of 2020. I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents in Saanich North and the Islands while leading the BC Greens until the next leader is elected this summer.

While I will not be the full-time leader of the BC Greens, I will work with my colleagues to continue to build a diverse, inclusive and modern political party.

I am proud of the work we have done since the 2017 election to show how a viable BC Green Party in the legislature has a positive impact on the quality of the governance of our province.

From banning big money, passing private members' legislation (twice), developing a roadmap for climate action (Clean BC) to being the first government to legislate the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the BC Greens have played a critical role over the past two years and I am excited to continue to work toward building our presence on the provincial political landscape.


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