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The minority B.C. NDP government has withdrawn a second legislative change in the summer session prompted by COVID-19, after B.C. Green MLAs refused to support changes to electricity imports that would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

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

‘It’s just my job’: Off-duty Peachland paramedic saves choking girl downtown Penticton

Family vacationing in Penticton assisted by off-duty paramedic, who helps save 13-year-old

Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

COLUMN: Listen to those who know about COVID-19

Accurate information is essential when understanding the pandemic

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Police watchdog deems Kelowna RCMP not responsible for man’s death

The man spoke to police after a car crash before leaving on foot; he was found dead six hours later

Central Okanagan adds 3,600 jobs in July: Statistics Canada

The region’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 10 per cent in July

Most Read