‘Difficult decision’: B.C. Green MLA Adam Olsen not seeking re-election in October

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MLA Adam Olsen speaks at a press conference Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

Saanich North and the Islands MLA Adam Olsen has announced he won’t be seeking re-election in October, choosing instead to spend more time with his family.

At a press conference Tuesday, the B.C. Green Party MLA, teary-eyed, said it was a difficult choice that follows “serious discussions” with family. He says he won’t be running for a third term, with upcoming family commitments “all factors” in the decision.

“And my own mental and physical health,” he said, noting recent close, personal deaths in the past year pushed him to want to focus on being a father.

“The timing of my son’s graduation next year, my daughter starting high school…” he said in a statement.

Olsen says he’s proud of his work.

“When the speaker adjourned on that last day of session in the Legislature, I felt no regrets, only a sense of accomplishment. Despite there always being more to be done, I don’t feel as if I have left anything on the table. To me, I have a sense of completion that I am content with,” he said.

“I believe it’s the responsible and ethical thing to step aside when you can’t commit fully to the job for the next four years.”

Trying something new

Olsen, however, “will not be going too far,” according to the B.C. Greens.

He’ll join the party as the new campaign chair, a role that will see him recruit and mentor candidates, provide platform advice and offer direction.

His announcement follows his more than 16 years of public service, starting as a district councillor for Central Saanich in 2008. Then, in May 2017, he was elected to the B.C. Legislative Assembly for Saanich North and the Islands.

Olsen was re-elected in Oct. 2020 with 52 per cent of the votes.

“He served as the interim leader of the B.C. Green Party from 2013 to 2015 and again before Sonia Furstenau was elected leader in 2020. Since 2021, he has served as the House Leader for the B.C. Green Caucus, demonstrating unwavering leadership and commitment throughout his tenure,” reads the statement.

B.C. Green leader Sonia Furstenau says Olsen has been “a steadfast and exceptional colleague, legislator, and friend,” adding, “He leaves an impressive legacy as a legislator and fierce advocate for all British Columbians.”

She’s thrilled “he will now serve as Campaign Chair, guiding the next generation of B.C. Green candidates and continuing to build on this remarkable legacy…”

The party says the pair “made history.”

When first elected in 2017, Olsen and Furstenau established the inaugural B.C. Green Caucus, increasing its number of MLAs to three, “thereby achieving official status as the Third Party in the Legislature,” it says.

The B.C. Greens add that they’re “actively engaging with potential candidates to run in Saanich North and the Islands.”

READ ALSO: ‘Deeply grateful’: NDP’s Murray Rankin stepping down as MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head

Ethan Morneau

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