B.C. Green Party interim leader Adam Olsen speaks in the legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Greens nix NDP’s change to private power production

Two MLAs also stalled detaining overdosed teens

The minority B.C. NDP government has withdrawn a second legislative change in the summer session prompted by COVID-19, after B.C. Green MLAs refused to support changes to electricity imports that would phase out most private hydro development.

Earlier this week the two B.C. Green MLAs also refused to support the NDP’s changes to the Mental Health Act, to allow young people to be detained in hospital for up to a week following a drug overdose. In both cases, objections of Indigenous people were cited by interim B.C. Green leader Adam Olsen and leadership contender Sonia Furstenau.

Energy Minister Bruce Ralston said he was “disappointed” that the B.C. Greens wouldn’t support changing the former B.C. Liberal government’s requirement that B.C. Hydro be self-sufficient in electricity even in low water years. Ralston’s amendments would allow B.C. Hydro to import power designated as “clean” such as solar and wind from California or other jurisdictions.

“The B.C. Liberal approach was to support their friends in private power industry and use ‘self-sufficiency’ to justify unnecessary long-term power contracts at inflated prices,” Ralston said after pulling the Clean Energy Amendment Act from the legislature. “We recognize that many First Nations view clean energy as an economic development opportunity, and will continue to provide direct funding support for community energy projects.”

That wasn’t enough for Olsen, Saanich and the Islands MLA and a member of the Tsartlip First Nation.

“My colleague MLA Furstenau and I were clear that we would be willing to pass the provisions relating to Burrard Thermal and the clean energy standard, but felt the section on self-sufficiency required additional consultation with First Nations and impacted parties,” Olsen said July 28.

Withdrawing the bill to keep it from being defeated also puts off Ralston’s plan to let B.C. Hydro redevelop the Burrard Thermal site in Port Moody, which has clean energy and other industrial potential.

RELATED: B.C. NDP wants to change electricity export rules

RELATED: B.C. wants ‘stabilization care’ for drug-abusing youth

The opioid overdose change was pulled by Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy July 27, after Indigenous people joined Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth in objecting to it.

Thousands of people every year are detained under B.C.’s Mental Health Act to protect them, but only if they are diagnosed with a severe psychiatric disorder, with or without drug abuse. The amendment would have allowed doctors to detain young people in hospital for up to 48 hours after a drug overdose, without a formal diagnosis of psychosis or suicidal thoughts. Under “strict conditions” the detention could be extended to a week, Darcy said.

After withdrawing the bill, Darcy said there have been extensive consultations with the First Nations Health Authority and others, and a pilot project at B.C. Children’s Hospital was showing positive results. But the summer legislative session has only one more week in August and the bill was withdrawn to give time for more consultation.

“We’re running out of time,” Darcy told reporters.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirusopioid addiction

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The much-awaited Splash Park opens in Burns Lake

The Splash Park at the Radley Beach Park is finally open for… Continue reading

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Granisle receives $4.3 million funding for Wastewater Treatment plant upgrade

The village will finally get to upgrade the 49 years old plant

Spirit North Burns Lake conducting canoe, paddle board camp for indigenous kids

Rachelle van Zanten, the Community Program Director for the Burns Lake area… Continue reading

Canada to match donations to Lebanon relief

Canada is directing all of its aid for this crisis directly to humanitarian organizations, not the Lebanese government

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Infamous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and other destinations

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Researchers find cannabis use in pregnancy linked to greater risk of autism

Researchers caution findings only show association — not cause and effect

Small Manitoba town mourning after well-liked teens killed by tornado

Melita residents feeling profound grief after the deaths of Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury

Antonio Banderas says he’s tested positive for coronavirus

Acclaimed actor celebrating his 60th birthday in quarantine

Most Read