MLA Adam Olsen still mulling over bid for provincial Green leadership

Olsen says he will discuss the opportunity with his family over Christmas holidays

Local MLA Adam Olsen says his mind is “not entirely made up” about running for the leadership of the B.C. Greens.

“I have been pushing it off [a decision], saying, look, we got to get through the [legislative] session and work with my family. We are now in that part. I’m talking it through with my family and I continue to be in the same situation the last time we talked.”

Olsen said earlier this year that he has not ruled out running for the leadership of the provincial Greens after leader Andrew Weaver announced that he would stop down. Weaver has since said that he will step down as leader in January 2020, while remaining as MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, made these comments in a year-end-interview with the Peninsula News Review.

RELATED: Local Green MLA Adam Olsen has not ruled out running for leader of provincial Greens

Olsen said the most attractive part of the job is to lead the party into a new phase.

With B.C. Greens more established in the Legislative Assembly than they have ever been, the next leader will have a “huge opportunity” to put his or her stamp on the party in defining its direction and goals, he said.

“We have a place in B.C. politics, in the political discourse and the opportunity for the next leader is to build a team of people, who are going to be able to expand the presence in the legislature and expand the level of discourse around the things that we need to be talking about.”

This discussion involves more than just climate change, he said. “It’s about our economy, it’s about how we are oriented.” The entire provincial economy remains “colonial in nature” insofar that appears “entirely oriented towards harvesting for somebody else benefits, ” said Olsen.

“There is a real opportunity to carve out a spot in between the two traditional political parties in British Columbia and have a really meaningful and impactful position in the B.C. political landscape,” said Olsen.

RELATED: MLA Olsen says Greens owe Elizabeth May a ‘tremendous debt of gratitude’

RELATED: Elizabeth May resigns as Green party leader

The party, in other words, could be a transformative, perpetual force with Olsen pointing to its current role in the Legislative Assembly, where the current New Democratic government governs as a minority government with Green support.

“We have seen in this minority government how three MLAs can have an impact,” he said. “Certainly it is a unique situation and I am not under any illusions that this is the way it has always been. But this is certainly the way it could be in the future.”

But the job of leader also has a major drawback, said Olsen, a father of two children. “It is the amount of life that it can strip from you,” said Olsen. “You can carry rightly or wrongly the political fortunes of a party on your back, and to do it right, you have got to spent an awful lot of time on the road, around British Columbia, meeting with people. Certainly, I have done some of that, but this job would require me to do a lot more.”

The party’s provincial council is expected to appoint an interim leader later this year with a convention scheduled June 26-28, 2020 in Nanaimo.

Olsen said this timing aims to give him and his follow MLA Sonia Furstenau (Cowichan Valley) more time in case one of them or both decide to run for the leadership.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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