HASH(0xb5b950)

B.C. Green leader making bold predictions about multiple seats in Tuesday’s vote

Weaver says Green vote is not split vote

DUNCAN, B.C. — It’s a warm spring night and Green party Leader Andrew Weaver is standing in the middle of a paved road on a Vancouver Island First Nation talking about vote splitting in British Columbia’s election.

Traffic has stopped and the more than 50 people gathered around Weaver want to know the value of a Green vote when the Liberals and New Democrats dominate the province’s politics.

Weaver holds the only Green seat in B.C.’s legislature, but he said the party is poised for more by offering voters policies and programs that include free daycare for working parents with children under three and increased education spending.

Weaver, hands in his pockets and oblivious to the line-up of vehicles forming along the road, attempted to debunk the vote-splitting concerns. He said the Greens will take votes from the Liberals and New Democrats in what he’s convinced will be a breakthrough election for his upstart party.

“The argument about the vote split is a form of voter suppression,” said Weaver, a scientist who has taught at the University of Victoria. “It’s actually a very clever tactic, because what it does is rile up the (party) base and it turns off everybody else. But if people vote for what they want, we know we can win.”     

Weaver said the Greens’ refusal to accept political donations from corporations and unions appeals to voters who hear the NDP and Liberals “argue over who is the least bought off.”

The Greens received eight per cent of the popular vote in the 2013 election and one seat, but Weaver is forecasting gains on Vancouver Island and possibly the Kootenays, areas of strong NDP support.

“There’s a buzz,” he said. “People are excited about having something to vote for.”

Weaver, 55, is an internationally recognized climate scientist who was part of a team that shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.

He entered politics almost reluctantly, often telling how he was persuaded to run for office at the fourth time of asking by a former party leader.

His victory in the Victoria-area riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head in 2013 was a surprise to him. But in the legislature he became a prolific writer of private member’s bills that have sometimes attracted Premier Christy Clark’s support, including a proposal to ban mandatory high heels for restaurant servers

On Wednesday about 500 people filled the Cowichan Tribes’ longhouse, a dirt-floor, wood-beam building, to hear Weaver and prominent environmentalist David Suzuki.

“It was a very powerful event,” said Weaver. “You walk into a spiritual place and you feel the energy there.”

Homemade baked goods, fresh vegetables and fruit were served. People cheered First Nations dancers and drummers who welcomed the visitors. For some, it was the first time they had been invited into a longhouse.

“I was moved,” said Kathleen Currie, wiping away tears. “I thought it was amazing. To be included in the First Nations, to be in the longhouse, to know I can make a difference. There’s such a sense of support.”

Suzuki, who has endorsed the Greens, said holding a political gathering in the longhouse was an important step towards reconciliation.

Canada’s indigenous people have a long track record of living sustainably, he said.

“But in this 150th birthday (of Canada) we better face the reality the people whose planet we inhabit and exploit are the poorest among us,” he said. “Something does not compute.”

Weaver said people want a vision.

“I think they are responding,” he said.

 

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Thornhill Boil Water Advisory rescinded

Residents are asked to flush their water pipes, clean coffee makers and other appliances

Contractors dig into construction of union office in Terrace

Traffic has been detoured on Kalum St. by Lazelle and Park Ave. for work on the BCGEU office

Baby bear captured on Kalum St.

Bear cub had been seen in area backyards for several days

Public asked to be on lookout for bear cub

Norhtern Lights Animal Shelter on its way here to capture baby bruin in Scott Avenue area.

Searchers rush to find missing hikers with one-year-old child

Family out overnight in cold near Watson Lake

Terrace River Kings overcome Williams Lake Stampeders 6-5

It was a back-and-forth game, played into second overtime before the team secured the win

B.C. casino accused of illegal activity follows rules: operator

B.C. had launched review after concerns about money laundering at River Rock casino in Richmond

Opponents of LGBTQ program to file human rights complaint against Surrey School District

District denied Parents United Canada right to rent Bell Performing Arts Centre for rally next month

Ex-employee describes alleged sexual assault by B.C. city councillor

Complainant was a teen during the alleged 1992 incident

Amazon gets 238 proposals for 2nd headquarters

Submissions were due last week. Online retailer has said tax breaks and grants would be factors

Justin Timberlake invited back to Super Bowl halftime show

A ‘wardrobe malfunction’ with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy during his last appearance

A scary box office weekend for everyone but Tyler Perry

‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ scared up a healthy $21.7 million in its first weekend in theatres

Even as long-form census data returns, Statcan readies for day without it

Wednesday’s release is expected to show immigrants making up a larger share of the population

B.C. VIEWS: Horgan fumbles salmon farm threat

Lana Popham falls for anti-aquaculture propaganda

Most Read