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Green leader pledges 'soul searching' after dismal byelection showing

FILE: Former BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – In the wake of a dismal byelection showing in Nanaimo, the leader of the BC Greens admits his party hasn’t done a good enough job communicating what it has actually achieved in Victoria.

“There’s not a lot of room for discussion about new ideas and new vision, and so we know we lost a tonne of our support to the BC NDP,” says Weaver, following the byelection in which his candidate claimed just 7.4 per cent of the vote. “We have to do a little bit of soul searching here.”

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Weaver claims his party hasn’t got the credit for changes such as the phasing out of Medical Services Plan premiums, and claims his party has acted as a buffer, preventing the worst aspects of what the NDP intended to include in its speculation tax from going ahead.

But he says voters aren’t in the loop about what the Greens have done on those matters and others.

“People don’t understand what we’ve done, and we haven’t been very good at telling our story,” says Weaver. “We haven’t been very good at telling British Columbians that a lot of the stuff that’s happened are actually BC Green priorities. Getting big money out of politics, lobbying reform — we’re the only party that campaigned on that, we now have lobbying reform done there, the Clean BC economic vision for British Columbia. That’s our vision, that’s not a BC NDP vision.”

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He insists the Greens have worked very hard to mitigate some of the more “outrageous” policies that the NDP has brought forward.

As for what’s next, Weaver won’t directly say whether he’s distancing himself from the NDP, but says his three-member caucus will be stepping aside from a large number of committees.

“We’re going to get down to what we think is important,” says Weaver. “We’re going to be focusing on our priorities, and we’re not going to be focusing on — moving forward — NDP priorities.”