Saanich North and the Islands MLA Adam Olsen will be making his final stop on Salt Spring for the year on Thursday, and is looking forward to the 2020 legislative season.
Olsen will be speaking at a community meeting on Salt Spring on Dec. 12 before spending a few weeks with his family and then preparing for the legislative session in the new year. The meeting will be held at the Legion at 4:30 and all are welcome to attend.
Looking back on 2019, Olsen said the year had been one of ups and downs. It began with a challenging spring session that came with the announcement of subsidies for LNG that the Green party had voted against. However, the fall session included an amendment to the Climate Change Accountability Act that brought in more transparency and accountability on climate action.
The new year is shaping up to be an interesting one for Olsen and the Green party. The party is looking for a new leader, after current leader Andrew Weaver announced he was stepping down. Olsen said that the race would have some “interesting impacts on Sonia [Furstenau] and I . . . as to how that works out.”
While Olsen did not announce that he would be running for the position, he said that he was mulling over the idea.
“I’m exploring all of the opportunities that are there. I’m very realistic about where I am in life right now. I have some ideas about where I’m going to land,” he said. “I’m going to take a few weeks in the holiday season to connect with my family and have some final conversations about it.”
On the legislative side of things, Olsen has two main priorities for 2020. The first is to continue his work on forestry and expanding on a clear vision for the industry in B.C. This includes looking at unsustainable logging of coastal Douglas-fir trees in the Southern Gulf Islands. He will be looking at ways to redefine how we see the last remaining forests on the islands, he explained.
His second priority is around education, and he will be “further defining where we stand on education and where education stands in our society.”
Those two items are related, in that as communities in B.C. are faced with declining primary industries on which they’re built, the people working in those industries will need a way to transition into a new sustainable path for the future.
“One of the things that I’ve seen is that when we’re talking about sustainability and resilience at a provincial level, those are issues that are magnified on the Southern Gulf Islands,” he said. “We need to embrace the opportunity that exists. I’m not here to sugar coat, gloss over or make the climate crisis seem like it’s going to be easy. It’s not easy. it’s difficult. But there are opportunities that if we were truly innovative and open-minded in our approach, we’d be able to grasp those opportunities.”
For more on this story, see the Dec. 11, 2019 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.