Looking back on 2017, I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve as the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head. I sincerely thank my constituents for electing me to a second term in the B.C. legislature. And, once again, I am proud that Oak Bay-Gordon Head had one of the highest voter turnouts in the province.
The past year has seen tremendous growth in the BC Green Party and I am delighted to be joined by two more BC Green members in the Legislature: Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley. The 2017 general election brought an extraordinary result that gave the BC Green caucus the balance of power in a minority NDP government. The BC Greens have entered into a confidence and supply agreement (CASA) with the NDP that is demonstrating to British Columbians how a minority government can work effectively.
Through CASA, the BC Green caucus has been able to advance priorities that were part of the BC Green Party election platform. This includes new legislation on electoral financing, which bans donations to political parties from corporations and unions and imposes a limit on individual contributions. The BC Green Party took a leadership role by banning corporate and union donations in September 2016 and we are proud to see those changes now legally in place across the board. B.C. is no longer the wild west of political fundraising.
The BC Green caucus is working collaboratively with both the BC NDP and the BC Liberals to improve legislation in the best interest of all British Columbians. We believe this is the foundation of good governance. We need different ideas brought to the table and amendments reflecting different views. This is how a minority government should work.
We have been keeping the pressure on the NDP government to tackle the housing affordability crisis that is gripping Vancouver and escalating in Victoria. It is especially critical that the government clamp down on speculative demand to solve the crisis, and I hope to see strong measures in the February budget.
As we look ahead to 2018, we recognize that there are many complex and pressing issues for government to tackle. These include housing and affordability, the opioid crisis, childcare, sustainability in our resource sector, endangered species legislation, ride-sharing legislation, and strong climate change action. We need the best ideas from all three parties in the legislature and a collaborative approach to solving them. We will face enormous challenges and they will be best met through co-operation.
We are committed to working with politicians no matter their party to advance solutions that affect all of us. In the fall of 2018 there will be a referendum on whether we should switch our electoral system to using proportional representation instead of first past the post. Proportional representation would build this approach into the way we elect our MLAs and ensure that every vote counts. But nothing changes without your feedback and majority support in the referendum.
The riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head has very engaged citizens and the input my office receives is critical. I draw my inspiration and guidance from our community. I look forward to talking to you in the community, at events, and at town halls. Your feedback is more important than ever.
I wish you all a happy holiday season and the very best for 2018.
Andrew Weaver is MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head and the Leader of the BC Green Party.