The B.C. Green Party announced leader Andrew Weaver will step down effective the first day of the party’s leadership contest, expected in early to mid-January.

Weaver announced in late October he would not seek re-election as MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and would stay on as leader until a successor is chosen.

The B.C. Greens will appoint an interim leader at the next meeting of the party’s Provincial Council, with an announcement by Dec. 6.

Weaver 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.

“This session has become a fitting conclusion to my time as leader,” Weaver said in a statement.

“From the Climate Accountability Amendment Act to the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, our party has worked collaboratively to fulfill many core aspects of our vision.”

Weaver says the start of the leadership contest is an appropriate time to “let the party begin a new chapter.”

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.

The Green party says the interim leader’s term will begin and end with the leadership contest.

The interim leader may not run for the permanent leadership position, as per party bylaw.

“We are looking forward to a robust process that builds on the achievements of the party these last four years,” Provincial Green Council Chair Sat Harwood said in a release.

“The party’s timeline for its upcoming leadership contest remains the same; we expect to publish the rules in mid-December, start the contest in early to mid-January and complete it during our annual convention in Nanaimo on June 28, 2020.”

CHEK News