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Changing Everything - From Within

Oak Bay/Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver is coming to Nelson Friday to speak at the United Church.

Acclaimed climate scientist Andrew Weaver is becoming a force in BC legislature, doing pretty well what we might expect of a scientist  turned politician: espousing evidence-based policy making over policy-based evidence making.

He is also continually ringing alarm bells over the hyper-partisan culture within our legislature, which is the glaring, ridiculously dysfunctional attribute that anyone but a seasoned politician would be quick to point out.

That would include our young people. By not voting, they are turning their backs on what our political culture has become.

As a scientist, maybe Weaver will have enough objectivity and integrity instilled in his approach to be able to resist the “if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em” mentality.

Hopefully the Green Party as a whole will follow his lead. Indeed, they do have another strong cross-partisan force in leader Adam Olsen. When I met Adam last year, he seemed to me to be the last person to fit the green stereotype.

He’s the kind of “regular guy” you would never expect to be a green crusader. In fact, he doesn’t seem to be much of a green crusader at all, having his roots in municipal politics and business.

In legislature, Andrew Weaver is the odd man out - neither Liberal nor NDP.

As the lone Green MLA, he is in a great position not only to draw attention to the obvious partisan-rooted problems we have succumbed to, but also to work for constructive change.

And that is more or less what he has been doing, forwarding policy crafted for all to be able to agree on and supporting -as well as challenging -policy initiatives from all parties.

His vision of the Green Party is that of a centrist, evidence-based party that draws support from all sides. While that is a great ideal for a rapidly evolving full-platform party, I think the

Green Party can have a higher - and more urgent calling: To de-emphasize adversarial partisanship altogether. This would be vastly preferable to becoming just another player in a dysfunctional system that is failing us at basic levels.

Of course, a presence in legislature is probably necessary to catalyze such a shift. These guys won’t do it on their own, for the simple reason it pays to be hyper-partisan, both in votes and in cash.

Andrew is in many ways BC’s opportunity - and he has been doing a great job, partly due to an ability to recognize and target the root problems, and propose well thought-out, workable paths forward.

Maybe we need more scientists in Legislature, and less career politicians. In any event, Green Party or not, I see

Andrew Weaver as presently one of the most important forces for the changes that we so urgently need to bring our legislative culture out of the “dark ages” of hyper-partisanship we are currently in.

He’s coming to Nelson on April 10th, 7 p.m. to speak at the United Church. Advance tickets are available ($10 suggested donation) at www.greenparty.bc.ca/weaver, or by phoning 250-551-4609. Hope to see you there.

Bruce Edson, Chair Nelson/Creston Greens