Sunday September 24, 2017

Andrew Weaver: 'I could not look my children in the face and say I did nothing'

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Listen 29:55

One of the most powerful people in the British Columbia legislature leads but a tiny three-member caucus. 

And the NDP government of Premier John Horgan holds power at his pleasure.

"We need more people going into politics (out of) a sense of civic duty, not (as) a career path, so they do what they think is right, as opposed to what they think will win them votes." - Andrew Weaver

Andrew Weaver's Green Party finished a distant third in last May's election in B.C. The Liberals finished just ahead of the NDP, but one seat shy of a majority. 

Suddenly, those three Green MLAs were a political lynchpin. Christy Clark's Liberals and John Horgan's NDP began a feverish courtship of Andrew Weaver — now the hottest property in B.C. politics. 

For the first time in Canada, the Green Party's policy objectives were taken very seriously by its political rivals. 

In the end, Weaver agreed to help Horgan take down the Liberals and to support an NDP government. 

"We're seeing extreme (weather) events all over the world, and this is just the beginning. This is why I felt it was important to get involved in politics. I was a climate scientist. I couldn't sit back and write another paper and talk to my colleagues about this.."
- Andrew Weaver
B.C. election 2017

B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan and B.C. Green party Leader Andrew Weaver sign an agreement in Victoria aimed at creating a stable minority government on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

That makes Andrew Weaver — one of Canada's most prominent climate scientists — a very influential politician in a province that is home to a boisterous environmental movement. And a province that is also largely dependent on a resource economy. 

Before entering politics in 2013, he was the Canada Research Chair in climate modelling and analysis at the University of Victoria.

He was also one of the lead authors for reports by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. 

"When I taught at university … I (would) frame this entire issue of climate change into one question: Do we the present generation owe anything to future generations in terms of the quality of the environment that we leave behind?" - Andrew Weaver

Click 'listen' above to hear the full interview.