Olsen gets boost by Green Party leader in Saanich North and the Islands

Andrew Weaver has high hopes for his BC Green Party in Saanich North and the Islands.

The party leader’s bus made a stop in Sidney Thursday, April 13, greeted by a small crowd of supporters in Beacon Park. In the crowd was Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Elizabeth May. The federal Green Party leader embraced Weaver as he stepped off the bus, with a hopeful cry of “here’s the next premier of B.C.!”

Weaver and the B.C. Greens have a long way to go to reach that plateau, yet the provincial leader has confidence in candidate Adam Olsen in this riding. Weaver noted that Olsen approached him about focusing his own efforts in Saanich North and the Islands — where he placed third by just under 400 votes in the 2013 provincial election. In that election, all three main party candidates received more than 30,000 votes each. The eventual winner — the NDP’s Gary Holman — won by around 150 votes over the BC Liberals’ Stephen Roberts. All three are fighting it out again in this round.

Olsen, energetic in addressing his supporters Thursday, said recent polling has him tasting victory on the Saanich Peninsula. He said there seems to be some momentum for the Greens right now — yet told the crowd he has to live up to the example set by Weaver — the only elected Green Party member in the last B.C. Legislature.

“We have some incredible stuff going on here right now,” Olsen said. The momentum, it’s just … I can taste it.”

Olsen said Weaver has “shown me how unbelievably tiring this job is going to be, and I’m ready, I’m ready to be tired.”

“Greens work on behalf of the people of British Columbia and … behalf of Canadians. There was much easier ways for me to get the the Legislature. We’ve been taking the easy path. It’s now time for us to face the difficult challenges we have ahead of us.”

Weaver said there is a buzz on the Island for the BC Green Party.

“You see these disenchanted voters out there … they don’t really believe in our system. And that’s when we see 45 per cent of voters not bothering to vote in the last election.”

Weaver encouraged supporters and others to look at the platforms of the parties in this election. He said there’s no vision in the NDP — or the Liberal — platforms.

“(The NDP) are trying to buy votes and they’re trying to outdo the Liberals,” Weaver said, in regards to the recent spate of election promises made by both parties, including reducing bridge tolls in metro Vancouver.

“The BC Greens said we are not playing that game. We are being described as principled, doing the right thing.”

Weaver said opportunities to vote for change in B.C. have been missed time after time. He said he’s confident in local efforts to elect people like Olsen to the Legislature in May.

General voting day in the B.C. provincial election is May 9.