British Columbia

Andrew Weaver defends Green Party's choices on Site C

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver says he's comfortable with the choices his party made leading up to the government's decision to go ahead with the Site C dam — even though he opposes the decision.

'Don't for a second think I'm not angry about this decision,' but he says early election not a solution

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver speaks to On The Island host Gregor Craigie on Dec. 18, 2017. (CBC News)

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver says he's comfortable with the choices his party made leading up to the government's decision to go ahead with the Site C dam — even though he opposes the decision.

"I don't think we would have done things differently," said Weaver to CBC's Gregor Cragie, in an interview marking the end of 2017. 

It was the Green Party's decision to support the NDP in the legislature that resulted in John Horgan becoming premier following last May's historic election. In the agreement, the only provision for Site C was for it to be reviewed by the B.C. Utilities Commission — which Horgan did before ultimately approving the $10.7 billion project. 

"When you go into a negotiation, there was a lot of give and take ... when we start to think about what we've got them to agree with, versus what we got, I think there was a good consensus reached."

The party says it won't vote against the NDP in next February's budget to force an election over the matter.

"If we bring the government down in February, which we could ... how does that get a different decision on Site C? We're basically throwing the dice and taking a chance that maybe the Liberals will win," he said. 

"Don't for a second think I'm not angry about this decision. I'm struggling with, how do we change the decision? And is bringing government down in February the responsible thing to do? I don't think it is, frankly."

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver responds to criticism from David Suzuki and other environmentalists over his party's lack of tangible action to oppose the NDP over their decision to approve the Site C hydroelectric dam. 1:17

No preference on specific PR system

Most commenters have predicted Weaver won't vote against the NDP on any critical issues until the November 2018 referendum on proportional representation

The Green Party currently has 3.5 per cent of the seats in B.C.'s legislature, despite receiving 16.8 per cent of the vote in the provincial election. 

And while Weaver made an electoral reform referendum one of his conditions for supporting the NDP, he has no real preference for what type of proportional representation is ultimately proposed to voters. 

"I'm not hung up about what the actual question is," he said.  

B.C. Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver and B.C. NDP Leader John Horgan take in a rugby match in Victoria, a day before they announced a confidence agreement that would propel the NDP to power. (Chap Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

"So, some form of preferential balloting is something [we want], and how that plays out in a proportional representation system, I'm not really that concerned. I just like that I can vote who I want number one, and, if they don't get in, number two, number three, and let's get the people they want, as opposed to guess who they don't want."

Weaver says that even if the referendum is unsuccessful, he's optimistic the party can branch out in the next election from its current base on Vancouver Island. 

"Our popularity is growing dramatically, as people are looking for politics done differently. We've taken principled decisions on a variety of issues," he said, referencing his party's stances against the removal of tolls from the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges and against a $400 annual renters rebate the NDP proposed during the election campaign.

"It's easy to campaign on giving stuff away. It's much more difficult to campaign on principled policy, but I think people are reflecting on that and thinking that they like what they see."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.