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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

With Andrew announcing he is not running again, whether I decide to run for leader (or not) I have a responsibility to take on a leadership role in the party

This morning I began this post as a story about who may lead the BC Green Party into the next election, following October’s announcement that Andrew WEAVER was stepping down ... not long after I began, came news that another Andrew – Andrew SCHEER, had stepped down as leader of the federal Conservative Party.

I’ll have more on that in another post, likely tomorrow ... but for now, back to who might replace Andrew Weaver as leader of the BC Green Party.

With less than two year until the next BC provincial election, one thing is certain, BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver will not be in the fray.

As announced in October, he will be stepping down from his role as leader at the beginning of 2020, and will also not be a candidate in his riding of Oak Bay – Gordon Head.

Just four days ago, Weaver, in an interview with Global News, spoke to what must be done policy wise for the party, saying:

The Green Party must also find its policy footing. Weaver was a global leader on climate issues and helped build the province’s climate action plan with the government. But Weaver says the party must also build strong policies on education, the new economy, jobs and health care to deal with climate change becoming a more universal concern”.

In that same interview, and others elsewhere, he also indicated his belief that the party needed a leader outside it’s power base on Vancouver Island, specifically the lower mainland of BC.  Time will tell whether that becomes reality, however one individual who has been giving the possibility of leading the party thought, is Saanich and the Islands MLA Adam Olsen, whose commentaries are often featured on this blog-site.
I asked him a number of questions several days ago ... here’s what he had to say:
The Olsen family; Adam, Ella, Silas, and Emily

What kind of sacrifices have been made by your family since holding elected office (both municipal and provincial), and what kinds of things have you done to make it work? Does your family encourage you in the work you do ... do your children have suggestions for you, from a youth perspective, on making our province a better place for all?

The biggest sacrifice is in terms of our anonymity. We are a very public family and always in the public spotlight. It is very difficult to go to the store without stopping to talk with a constituent about an issue or two. We have been very protective of Friday evenings and Sunday’s. I do not schedule meetings or events. I must protect space for family.  

Yes, my family does encourage my work and are very interested in what I am working on. That said I try not to talk to much about politics or governance with my family, they also provide me a space to be away from it and lead a more normal life.

It appears, from my readings, that some of your daily blog commentaries are taking on a stronger viewpoint -- is your consideration of seeking the Green Party leadership playing in to that?

Hmmm -- I would say that with Andrew announcing he is not running again, that whether I decide to run for leader or not I have a responsibility to take on a leadership role in the Party and the Legislature. 

I would say that my sharper tone and stronger viewpoint is actually more a reflection of my growing comfort in my role and a deeper understanding of the issues more than anything else.

What strengths do you believe you could bring to the Green Party, if you were to become the leader?

Frankly, I believe I need to be demonstrating leadership qualities whether I am the leader or not.

Leadership, as it is currently defined in our society, is very unattractive to me. I do not think any one person should be carrying the burden of our province. I do not like how it affects ego and how people change when they are chasing a leadership position or are honoured with it.

Of course, I am speaking in generalities here, however, I believe we need to reconstruct leadership.  I think we should be more willing to share the burden and work together to accomplish the things we need to accomplish.

BC's forest industry is said by many to be in crisis -- and there is no shortage of explanations as to why. What would you say to workers who are unemployed now with little prospect of returning to their jobs -- and those employed by Canfor and Tolko that will be off work for at least two weeks over the holidays?

The finger pointing across the aisle is not helpful.

People in government, industry and communities across the province have seen this coming for years now, and just continued with business as usual. It does not help communities in crisis when it becomes a partisan political battle. All 87 MLA’s, from all party stripes, need to be working overtime to renew our economy, reliance on resource extraction alone is not sufficient.

While the current provincial government is responsible for navigating us through these challenges, we all need to be part of the solution and play a role in reinventing the rural economies in our province.

How would you work towards growing support for the Green Party outside of it's current core base?

Communicate better -- meet more people face-to-face -- develop more opportunities for people to contribute to the work in a meaningful way. Most importantly, be patient. I prefer organic growth, while it takes longer it creates stronger organization.

Artificially fertilized growth is inherently weaker and creates a more fragile organization in the long run.
How much time, over the holidays, will you be spending in consideration of running for the leadership -- do you have meetings planned with potential supporters to seek their input?

I have been receiving a lot of feedback from supporters. I have meetings planned and conversations to complete.

It will be a healthy mix of considering leadership, and not thinking at all about politics.

What kind of leader would you envision yourself to be in general, and who would seek to become?

Generally I am someone who is a team builder. I believe in empowering people to do the best they can and to strive to achieve consensus.

The decision to run for political office is one which should at least take very careful consideration. It should include asking oneself why they are doing it, and what they hope to accomplish.  It seems, at least to me, that Adam Olsen is very much applying these same things to his deliberations on whether to seek the leadership of the BC Green Party as well.

That, at least in my opinion, is as it should be!


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