B.C. Green Party interim leader Adam Olsen speaks in the legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)

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The minority B.C. NDP government has withdrawn a second legislative change in the summer session prompted by COVID-19, after B.C. Green MLAs refused to support changes to electricity imports that would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

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

The BC CDC data for Jan. 3-9. (BC CDC Photo)
Golden adds 7 cases in first week of 2021; BC CDC

The numbers are down from 14 the week before

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

This is the location, 3240 Skaha Lake Road, of where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton mayor and MLA concerned about new BC Housing project

‘Penticton already has its fair share’ of BC Housing projects

Interior Health declared the COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place long term care home over Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place care home declared over

‘This has been one of our most challenging outbreaks so far,’ says chief medical health officer

Penticton Bylaw officer Glenn Smith, as well as resident Zak Laycock (not pictured), received the Governor General Award from the Royal Canadian Humane Association to recognize their heroism in a summer 2019 incident. (Contributed)
Bylaw officer and Penticton resident given awards for intervening in sexual assault

Bylaw officer Glenn Smith said he was simply in the right place at the right time

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

Hillview Elementary students Emma Li and Mina Nadeau were awarded by the Premier’s office for winning the annual holiday card contest. (Karen Rogers photo)
North Okanagan students’ art featured on Premier’s cards

Hillview youth chosen for annual holiday card contest

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Most Read