Former B.C. Green Party leader lashes out at former caucus on social media

The former leader of the B.C. Green Party lashed out at his former caucus members over Twitter on Saturday, saying they were not prepared to topple the government when he was.

Andrew Weaver left the B.C. Green Party in January to sit as an independent MLA in the legislature. He made the announcement in October and said he would not run in the next election.

He said at the time that sitting as an independent would allow him to balance politics with some health issues, but he remained committed to the stability of B.C.'s minority government.

Since 2017, the Greens and the NDP have had an agreement to support one another in a minority government. 

On Saturday though, Weaver was critical of the two MLAs he previously sat with in caucus.

Mike McArthur/CBC

He commented on a tweet from Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau, who is vying for the party's leadership, about B.C. adopting a four-day work week.

Weaver said the idea was "kooky," and then further in the comments wrote that both Furstenau and interim leader Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, "were afraid to stand up to the B.C. NDP" over LNG development in the province.

"I was ready to go to election, but in my opinion, they were more interested in re-election than they were about standing up for @BCGreen principles," he wrote on Twitter.

In October 2018, the LNG Canada project, a $40-billion liquefied natural gas project in northern B.C., was approved. At the time, B.C. Premier John Horgan said the announcement was a "great day" for the province.

Weaver said the announcement was a "profound disappointment," and that his party would not support the LNG legislation that would be required. He said the project would prevent the province from meeting climate change targets.

Also on Twitter on Saturday night, Weaver seemed to indicate that under his leadership the B.C. Greens were more centrist, but had since swung left.

'Surprised'

Olsen responded to the tweets with a statement on Sunday that said the party was "surprised" to see Weaver make the claim.

"The B.C. Greens strongly opposed LNG and made this very clear," it said. "We voted 14 times in the house against the legislation, but the B.C. NDP and the B.C. Liberals both voted together to bring LNG to B.C."

In an interview on CBC's The Early Edition Monday morning, Olsen reiterated that the Green Party used "every tool in its toolbox" to try to stop the legislation, which he said allows for "a massive tax subsidy" for LNG Canada.

"I can't remember a bill in the history of the province that has had so many votes," said Olsen, adding there was no opportunity for the Green Party to bring down the government on this issue.

Olsen said the party's focus now is the health of British Columbians, the impact of the pandemic and advancing a green economic recovery.

Moe Sihota, former president of the B.C. NDP, said the Green Party could have put forward a vote of non-confidence and tried to topple the government over the LNG issue, but did not. 

But Sihota says focusing on that issue is "looking at the tree and not the forest." He believes the former Green leader is more concerned about what Weaver sees as "the shift from a moderate party that he led to a more marginal one."  

"Andrew sees that the party as drifting toward irrelevance because of more extreme positions and the change in its membership that, as he puts it, has become more radical," said Sihota on The Early Edition Monday.

Olsen disputed that claim, saying: "That is just not true." 

Weaver has yet to respond to requests to explain the reasoning behind his current criticisms.