B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver says his deal with NDP requires a plan to meet legislated emissions targets
Back in 2017, B.C.’s then lieutenant-governor, Judith Guichon, allowed the NDP to form a minority government with John Horgan as premier, even though the B.C. Liberals won more seats in the election.
Guichon rejected then B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark's request to remain premier because the B.C. Greens had promised to support a minority NDP government on confidence motions and the budget.
In the 2017 confidence and supply agreement between the 41-member NDP caucus and the three-member Green caucus, the Greens set a key condition: the NDP minority government must develop a strategy to meet the province’s greenhouse-gas-reduction targets.
But more than two years after Horgan was sworn in as premier, this still hasn’t occurred, according to B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver.
In an interview with the Straight at the recent Vancouver Pride parade, Weaver said there’s only a plan to achieve three-quarters of the legislated greenhouse-gas reductions by 2030.
“The timeline [to develop a strategy] for that would be this year—to see the other 25 percent,” Weaver said. “So let’s see what happens there.”
Does this mean that the B.C. Green caucus is prepared to vote against the NDP minority government if a confidence motion comes before the legislature this fall? Weaver didn’t offer any indication.
He noted that he doesn’t see any reason why the NDP minority government couldn’t last for a full four-year term.
However, the B.C. Green leader also said that he entered provincial politics because of the climate issue—and nobody can “pull the wool over my eyes” on greenhouse gas emissions.
Moreover, he insisted that the NDP caucus has made a commitment to showing how the targets will be met.
“I told John [Horgan], to his face, that I don’t see how he’s going to do it,” Weaver said.
Under the Climate Change Accountability Act, the B.C. government must achieve a 40-percent reduction in provincewide carbon emissions below the 2007 level by 2030.
Emissions must be 60 percent below the 2007 level by 2040.
There are no interim targets in the legislation, which was approved by a majority of MLAs in 2018.
Weaver said that the CleanBC plan to cut emissions will take the province 75 percent toward legislated goal.
The B.C. Green leader added that if the LNG Canada plant isn’t built near Kitimat, the province would be 90 percent of the way to meeting the target.
However, this plant has already been approved by the provincial and federal governments.
“Climate change is a very serious issue and I’m sick and tired of politicians saying we’ll do something and doing nothing, which is the reason why I tore up my membership in the federal Liberal party,” Weaver said. “It was because of [Justin] Trudeau’s hypocrisy over oilsands.”
In addition, Weaver said that plans are in the works for a plastics petrochemical plant in Prince George, which will be “another massive source of emissions”.
He quickly added that he is "much more supportive" of the petrochemical plant than the LNG facility because it would create "real jobs in B.C."
Speaking generally, Weaver expressed exasperation about the unwillingness of too many elected officials to take climate change seriously.
Without interim targets, Horgan’s only legal obligation is to ensure that the province meets its legislated requirement by 2030.
But Weaver argued that the agreement between the two caucuses requires the NDP to come up with a road map to do this if it’s to remain in power.
"When the [Gordon] Campbell government was in, I was on the climate action group," he said. "We developed interim targets at 2016 and 2018. That was part of our mandate in the climate action group to get to the 2020 target, which was legislated."