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The minority B.C. NDP government has withdrawn a second legislative change in the summer session prompted by COVID-19, after B.C. Green MLAs refused to support changes to electricity imports that would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

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Pipeline camp liquor license gets second public hearing

“We really didn’t hear from enough people and we didn’t have the full spectrum of information.”

No new COVID-19 cases for the first time in weeks: Interior Health

Hospitalization also down to zero across the region

Chase RCMP seek information for decade-long missing person investigation

Shayne Murray Robinson’s truck was found abandoned by the Barriere RCMP detachment in 2010

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Most Read