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Opinion: Local MLA busy fighting BC NDP’s ‘increasingly autocratic approach’

Adam Olsen looks back on 2023 and ahead to 2024
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Saanich North and the Islands MLA Adam Olsen. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

By Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands

As I look back at another year in the British Columbia Legislative Assembly, I raise my hands in gratitude to Saanich North and the Islands who have given me the honour of representing our beautiful communities since 2017.

We just celebrated my son Silas’ 16th birthday, which means it has been 15 years since I was first elected as a Central Saanich councillor. Silas played at the feet of then-Sidney Coun. Steve Price and I at the CRD meetings. While the pace of government is necessarily slow, the pace of politics is brisk.

Time flies.

With 2024 being an election year, I will be seeking your support again, whether in a snap spring election or the scheduled October polls, to continue serving our community.

In just one year, my colleague Sonia Furstenau and I in the BC Green caucus have driven meaningful change across a range of issues.

Our advocacy has spanned from championing serious investment in public transit to universal free lunch programs in schools to major reforms in the child welfare system. On housing, we’ve been tireless advocates for affordable solutions and support for those facing homelessness.

Looking back at this year in the legislature and constituency, there are a few stories that continue to be written.

In the constituency, I’m grateful for the incredible support of my constituency advocates. I am thankful for the team who continue to support me and provide top-notch service to our constituents.

We have become increasingly responsive to incoming requests for assistance and more proactive in our outreach.

Our welcoming office on Fourth Street in Sidney is open for drop-in service and is a space you and your community group can use to meet. We have a private board room with full video conferencing capability.

If you seek advocacy or would like to book our meeting space, please contact Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call 250-655-5600.

In the legislature, I embrace my role in the Opposition, understanding its critical importance in our system of government.

The recent trend of the BC United Official Opposition labelling their critics as “Shadow Ministers” is a misrepresentation of their actual role. Our system requires strong critics committed to maintaining transparency and accountability.

The BC NDP’s increasingly autocratic approach is concerning, especially their manipulation of the legislative assembly agenda to limit the Opposition, media, and public’s accessibility and influence on laws governing our province.

The pattern of introducing transformative legislation late in the legislative calendar, as seen with forestry (2021), health (2022), and housing (2023), deliberately restricts debate and undermines democratic scrutiny.

As we move into an election year, I urge voters to consider how the BC NDP’s actions are affecting our democracy. It’s crucial to demand better governance and ensure that our elected officials are held accountable for their actions and decisions.

As your representative, I remain committed to advocating for our community’s needs and ensuring that our voices are heard in the legislature.

Adam Olsen is the MLA for Saanich North and the Islands.