Former Sidney mayor calls on local MLA Adam Olsen to resign over protests

Olsen has rejected the demand, calling Price’s language divisive and responsible for polarization

Local MLA Adam Olsen says comments from former Sidney mayor Steve Price calling for his resignation and accusing him of law breaking contributes to the current climate of political polarization.

“This kind of divisive language that unfortunately I am being asked to respond [to] is exactly the kind of divisive language that has got us to where we are today and we owe it to our future generations that they inherit a different kind of language and a more functional relationship, one that is inclusive and not divisive and angry,” he said.

Olsen made these comments after Price commented on a Monday morning protest outside of Swartz Bay that delayed BC Ferries sailings. Protesters demanded “respect for Wet’suwet’en sovereignty” in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposing plans by Coastal GasLink to build a 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast.

RELATED: UPDATED: One-sailing wait from Swartz Bay ferry terminal after morning protest

Olsen, who is also the interim leader of the BC Green Party, had visited the area over the weekend, along with federal Green MP Paul Manly, after accepting an invitation from the hereditary chiefs. The pair met with the chiefs and other locals, including local RCMP officials.

RELATED: BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Price, however, appeared to interpret Olsen’s visit as inflammatory and responsible for Monday’s protest outside Swartz Bay. “This [Monday protest] is the direct result of [Olsen] fanning the flames of disrespect to the rule of law on his recent trip north,” said Price in a tweet. “He needs to resign his seat. We can not allow fanatics to control our Government. Green Party has lost its way.”

Price later repeated his call for Olsen’s resignation in a second tweet writing that his role as an “MLA is that of a law maker, not a law breaker. He needs to decide who he represents and he has clearly shown its [sic] is not the general population of BC. Olsen needs to go!”

Olsen said he “fundamentally” rejects Price’s characterizations in every aspect.

“I break no laws, and when we got the invite to go to the Wet’suwet’en territory in fact met with the RCMP at the same time,” he said. “When we approached the control access point of the RCMP with the hereditary chief Na’ moks, they took our names us let us through. There were absolutely no laws broken in part of the trip at all and I had very good conversation with them [RCMP] on Sunday. I actually fundamentally believe that I am doing my job as an MLA to become informed and understand the various aspects of the situation.”

Olsen added later he believes more elected officials should take the time to learn about the complexities of Canada.

“It is the job of MLAs to understand the situations that are the results of our decisions,” he said. “Let us be clear. These confrontations … are happening because politicians have not been doing their whole job. This is on us. It is on us to get this right.”

When asked later why Premier John Horgan did not take up the invitation that Olsen accepted, he said “we need to make our own way.”

The premier and the premier’s office make their own decisions, said Olsen. “It was abundantly clear what my decision was, and that’s all I can speak to. It’s up to the government to speak to their response.”

Commenting on the Wet’suwet’en protest, as well as the protesters outside the ferry terminal, Olsen defended their right to peaceful protest.

“The right of British Columbians and Canadians to peacefully demonstrate is constitutionally protected,” said Olsen. “It is a foundational part of our democracy. We have our democracy today, because people have the ability to express their discomfort and their concern about decisions their government makes. To suggest that there is something fanatical about that is to not understand the history of how we got where we are. Indeed, how is this being said that the neighbours to the south are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day?”

The Peninsula News Review has reached to Price for additional comment.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

Panthers’ Captain Tanner Wort faces Tory McClintick of the Victoria Cougars during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre. The Panthers lost 3-0, then lost 7-2 Sunday. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)
Peninsula Panthers’ losing streak reaches four games as injuries mount

Injuries have especially hurt the team’s backline with only four defenders available

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan Bui (left) and Kairry Nguyen at the end of the trial that found Tanessa Nikirk guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Nikirk is back in court for her sentencing hearing. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Court hears letter from driver convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Most Read