Andrew Weaver helped guide the BC Green Party to new heights, now he says it is time to step down as party leader.
Weaver made the announcement on Monday morning in the Hall of Honour, ahead of the beginning of the Fall Session of the B.C. Legislature.
The 57-year-old says he will not seek re-election in the next provincial election.
“It is after a great deal of thought and reflection that I am announcing today that I will not be seeking another term as MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head,” Weaver said.
“I am making this announcement now so that the party has enough time to start the process of electing a new leader in preparation for the next provincial election.
Weaver says he will stay on as leader until a successor is chosen.
He is one of three BC Green Party MLA’s along with Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen.
The province’s minority NDP government remains in power with the support of the Greens, but Weaver’s decision will not immediately affect the New Democrats’ hold on power because he will remain on the opposition benches of legislature.
The B.C. Liberals have 42 seats in the house, the NDP 41, the Greens three seats and there is one Independent, former Liberal Darryl Plecas, who serves as house Speaker.
In September, Weaver announced that he had been hospitalized and would be reducing his work schedule for a period of time to recover after being diagnosed with labyrinthitis.
The condition is described as an inflammation of the labyrinth, a part of the inner ear that helps control balance, and causes vertigo, and can also lead to hearing loss and a ringing sound in the ears.
Weaver said it did not lead to his decision, but did reinforce one he says he’d taken over the summer.
A an internationally recognized climate scientist, Weaver has been a University of Victoria professor for more than 20 years and has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed papers.
He joined the BC Greens as deputy-leader in 2012, and became the party’s first-ever MLA when he was elected in Oak Bay-Gordon Head in the 2013 provincial election beating BC Liberal Ida Chong.
He was acclaimed as Green Party leader in 2015.
It was under his leadership that the party would elect two more MLAs in May 2017 and, with three seats, found itself holding the balance of power.
The Greens soon reached a confidence and supply agreement with BC NDP and teamed up to defeat the BC Liberals in a confidence vote allowing the NDP to take power John Horgan to become premier.
“Andrew propelled the B.C. Green Party into provincial relevance, and his decades of work as a climate scientist and then as an MLA greatly contributed to what we are seeing now with climate change being at the forefront of the national political conversation,” said Sat Harwood, chair of Provincial Council.
“I expect the leadership contest will culminate at the party’s 2020 convention to be held in Nanaimo from June 26-28, but details regarding the leadership contest, including a launch date, will be released in the coming weeks and months as they are approved by provincial council.”
Premier John Horgan said he was disappointed that Weaver will be stepping down as leader but is grateful for “all we’ve been able to accomplish together.”
Disappointed to learn that Andrew Weaver will be stepping down as Leader of the BC Greens but I'm grateful for all we've been able to accomplish together. Thank you @AJWVictoriaBC for your service to British Columbians, dedication to #climateaction, and for your friendship. https://t.co/x9LhuFH8zh
— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) October 7, 2019