Common Sense Canadian
 

Green Party campaign manager quit over Andrew Weaver’s bullying, bad policies

Posted May 8, 2017 by Damien Gillis in Politics
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Andrew Weraver attacks BCNDP Leader John Horgan during the televised leaders’ debate

Updated May 8, 8 PM

On the eve of his candidate’s kick-off event, Green Party campaign manager Troy Grant reached his breaking point with Andrew Weaver, causing him to resign. “I can’t support the BC Green Party because of Andrew Weaver,” Grant now admits. Here’s why.

Troy Grant is a Vancouver Island resident and environmental activist who, up until a couple of months ago, was running the campaign of Green Party candidate Lia Versaevel. As part of his early groundwork on the campaign, Grant reached out to Common Sense Canadian lead columnist Rafe Mair, a man whose opinions Grant says he has always respected. Intrigued by what he heard about Versavel, Rafe proceeded to interview her, resulting in this relatively glowing review. Rafe being Rafe, though, couldn’t sign off on the piece without one caveat: his disdain for party leader Andrew Weaver’s ongoing support of IPPs (private power projects). After all, Rafe and this publication have been highly critical of IPPs going back to the Gordon Campbell era, when Weaver stumped for the BC Liberals as a UVic climate scientist.

Lia Versaevel (photo: BC Green Party)

By the time Grant showed up to a campaign launch for Versaevel in early February, he had already been berated over the phone by high level party operatives over the Mair article. They were incensed that Grant had reached out to Mair, a longtime critic of Weaver’s. Grant had no reason to expect what happened next, though. Weaver himself showed up to the event and proceeded to “rip into” Grant. So irate was the party leader that “minutes before the event was to start, I had to ask him to step outside,” Grant recalled for me in a phone interview this morning.

Two weeks later, Grant tendered his resignation from Versaevel’s campaign. Officially, it was for health reasons. Grant suffers from a serious disability and mobility challenges which, over the course of Versaevel’s early campaigning, grew worse. But, privately, the incident with Weaver was a big motivating factor for his departure – “the last straw”, he acknowledged. In an internal resignation letter he circulated to fellow Green Party members on February 27, Grant wrote:

After a bizarre tirade by Party Leader Andrew Weaver on Feb. 11, where I felt bullied and personally attacked, (about an article written by Rafe [Mair] that Weaver he blamed me for) I decided I could not in good conscience associate with an organization who’s Leader showed such lack of self control and decorum.

More than Weaver’s angry treatment of Grant, his policies were also a serious concern. “I resigned because of a difference of opinion with the way the leader was leading the party,” Grant added. 

Writ large, Weaver’s strategy of sidling up to Liberal voters was a problem for Grant, who explained it this way:

Weaver believes he can pick up the Green Party, plop it in the middle, make it  “Liberal Light” and draw votes from both sides. It makes me angry when people minimize the urgency of our environmental challenges for political gain – and that’s what he’s done. It’s a travesty.

Construction of a private power project on the Ashlu River (Photo: Range Life)

In terms of policy specifics, Grant shares many of the concerns Rafe and this publication have highlighted about Weaver, including his support for the Campbell/Clark private power program, which has meant widespread ecological devastation for many of BC’s rivers, but also resulted in well over $60 Billion worth of sweetheart contracts for private power players – many of them significant BC Liberal Party donors – unnecessarily driving up power bills for British Columbians and all but bankrupting our public utility. The Versaevel piece was far from the first time Rafe had taken on Weaver’s pro-IPP position.

In 2009, when Rafe I were both speaking out publicly against IPPs, we were dismayed to learn that Weaver wrote an op-ed and made robo-calls (listen for yourself) in favour of the Campbell Liberal Government, with supportive words for his energy program. Following that election, Weaver remained relatively silent about IPPs until, after becoming leader of the BC Greens, he was quizzed about his position by then-CFAX Radio host Ian Jessop. After hearing Weaver’s interview, Rafe wrote:

Dr. Weaver [is] still praising private power – only criticizing the Liberals’ lack of environmental monitoring and enforcement. What he fails to recognize or admit is that this industry has never been monitored, nor any protections enforced, since day one, which is precisely what we’ve been warning for nearly a decade now. This is not some mere wrinkle or oversight – it’s exactly how a privatized system is designed to work.

Later writing about Green candidate Versaevel, Rafe included this line, which appears to have sparked the dust-up between Weaver and campaign manager Grant: “…Dr. Weaver [remains] an unrepentant supporter of IPPs without concern for the damage they do or the monetary wreckage they have visited on BC Hydro. If he is a ‘Green’, he needs a new paint job.”

But for critics of Weaver’s within the environmental community, IPPs are just one in a long list of gripes. Others include:

  • His support for David Black’s proposed oil refinery in Kitimat, on the grounds that it would result in tankers carrying a less-destructive product than bitumen on the BC Coast. Lost on Weaver, apparently, was the fact that this would still require Tar Sands extraction, intense carbon emissions, and a bitumen pipeline crossing BC’s rugged northern landscape, much the same as Enbridge would have done.
  • Weaver’s grizzly hunt policy, which only requires that hunters pack their meat out (as if anyone actually hunts grizzlies for food!). This would likely stop foreign hunters, but do nothing to stem the larger resident hunt. Weaver’s position has been ridiculed by bear advocacy groups and leading biologists, including Chris Darimont, an associate professor at UVic. Addressing some of Weaver’s most absurd comments on the subject, Darimont recently told The Vancouver Sun, “He is not only on the wrong side of history on the grizzly hunt issue, but he is also ‘dead’ wrong.” Adds Grant, “Weaver’s position should have been, ‘We’re against it, period.'”
  • Weaver’s refusal to support wastewater treatment in Victoria.

Grant also points Weaver’s bewildering relationship with the Liberal Party, as other critics have done of late. When Weaver distanced himself from popular federal party leader Elizabeth May over the BDS controversy, he told the media, “I’ve got a lot of federal Liberals on my team who are members of the federal Liberal party but also members of the B.C. Green Party.” If distance is what he sought, that’s apparently what he got. One would expect May to be all over the BC campaign trail, rallying her federal Green supporters in key ridings where the Greens are vying for seats on May 9. Aside from a few campaign stops early on, there’s been barely any mention of the country’s brightest Green star.

Then there’s the overt Liberal support for the Greens – which last election meant pro-Green ads paid for by the Liberal campaign. This time around, it’s more subtle. There’s Judi Tyabji – wife of Liberal LNG booster Gordon Wilson and mother of Liberal candidate Mathew Wilson – working with the Powell River Chamber of Commerce to host Andrew Weaver in the very riding her son’s campaigning in, then extolling the Green leader’s virtues on facebook.

Screen capture from Judi Tyabji’s facebook page.

And, of course, there’s Weaver portraying himself as ready to work with the Liberals – even ready to accept a cabinet position from them – yet dismissing John Horgan and the NDP. This particular incident drove ex-Liberal Chief of Staff Martyn Brown to come out publicly against Weaver and urge progressive voters to unite under the NDP:

It is beyond me how Weaver could ever contemplate supporting Clark’s government—a government that has eviscerated B.C.’s globally-lauded climate action plan and that is diametrically opposed to virtually every plank in the Green party’s platform.

For the life of me, I cannot fathom how the Green party leader could ever equivocate on which party he would support if he finds himself holding the balance of power, as he did in the televised leaders’ debate, and as he did again in Wednesday night’s interview on Global TV.

Which is why I will be casting my vote for the NDP — a party I spent nearly a quarter of a century fighting against.

For his part, Troy Grant is clearly still torn about his recent experience with the Green Party, noting how badly he feels about having to step away from the campaign of  Versaevel, whom he holds in high regard. The same can be said for many of her fellow candidates and party supporters – but Weaver has jeopardized all that.

All these people have done so much work over the years to build the Green Party,” he told me, “but now he’s turned it into the ‘Andrew Weaver Party’.” 

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About the Author

Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

22 Comments


  1.  
    Andre Piver MD

    There is no time for playing games. If the current weather is not enough to get it that Climate change is here and accelerating with runaway positive feedback, what would it take?. The IPCC reports are always behind the actual rate of change because scientists make sure to be extremely conservative and insist on picking a cut off date for what data is considered which is often a year or more behind by the time they finish their deliberations for their consensus statements to reflect the same data base; This in order to ensure they cannot be seen as fear mongering or not being evidence based. The acceleration is exponential. There is no time for bargaining with it like it is a special interest group that needs to be balanced with other special interests.




  2.  
    Lora Teuschler

    Damien Gills, the piece you wrote here lacks very little truth. As a journalist you listened to only one side without getting the facts straight. I am the campaign manager who picked up the pieces when Mr Grant “resigned” and was involved in the campaign at the same time. Most of what you have published here is absolutely not true and I can state that Troy Grant was not an asset to Lia Versaevel’s campaign. In fact I had to contact our Central Party several times with my concerns about his actions.




    •  
      Damien Gillis

      “Lacking very little truth” actually means “containing a lot of truth”, with which I would wholeheartedly concur. Thank you.

      As for your comments, well, you’ve now had a chance to get them on the record.

      I found Mr. Grant to be credible and his comments illuminating – and he has every right to make them. I’ve pursued Mr. Weaver for comment before and been treated rudely and blown off. I don’t feel compelled to chase him around again. Both Rafe and I have observed Mr. Weaver for years and are well familiar with his positions and this piece draws on many credible sources to depict a troubling pattern of behaviour. Mr. Grant’s testimony is far from the only piece of evidence I drew on here.

      I also note how the sum total of your criticism is an ad hominem attack on your alleged predecessor – you have chosen to ignore all the points made about Mr. Weaver’s poor environmental positions and highly suspect relationship to the Liberal Party. These omissions speak volumes. I stand by my story.




      •  
        Allan Crow

        THKs Damien, I stand by your story and Rafe’s credibility as well….sometimes the truth is a hard pill to swallow… and some people just don’t want to take their medication. Best.




  3.  
    William Orr

    This is all water under the bridge.I have been a long time Green supporter but it is time to vote stratigic. I hope the greens win a few of the south island areas but we need a NDP majority. Drive your friends to the polls!




  4.  
    paul

    It’s unfortunate that the ndp n the social follow focused on the green party n Andrew Weaver. It took the heat off Clark. I hope they don’t get a majority again because of this. There were 45% who didn’t vote last time. That was the group ndp shld have gone for…




  5.  
    Sub-Boreal

    Pity that this didn’t come out 2 weeks ago!




    •  
      Damien Gillis

      I agree. This only came to my attention this morning and I promptly interviewed Mr. Grant. But it would have been good for potential Green Party supporters to have this information sooner. That said, many other details in the story have been reported by Martyn Brown in the Georgia Straight, Keith Baldrey and Global, The Tyee and others…




      •  
        Dave

        “…Grant tendered his resignation from Versaevel’s campaign. Officially, it was for health reasons.”

        THAT should be the headline. Clickbait at the very least, fake news at worst.




        •  
          Ron

          So you’re a sound byte voter are you? You like your articles short and to the point you want to hear – devoid of complicating facts. Additionally, it is quite apparent you have no idea what “click-bait” is.




  6.  
    Evil Eye

    The so called Green/Weave Party is nothing more than an adjunct to the BC Liberal party. The coup de gras for me was a Liberal candidate signing the nomination papers for a Green candidate.

    The Greens have absolutely no regional transportation plan except tax beleaguered drivers more with a very ill thought out road pricing scheme.

    Weaver is Clark’s man to disrupt the election, Trump style by fooling those who detest the Liberals and will not vote NDP a party to park their vote.

    It is extremely cynical electoral corruption and I hope the voter can see though the barnyard mire of political excrement and see the Greens for what they are.




  7.  
    Michael Maser

    This reads like sour grapes to me. I’ve heard other media ask hardball Qs to Andrew throughout this campaign and his answers are a lot clearer than those written up here, which are second-hand re-treads.
    Why don’t you have direct responses from him? If it’s because you never approached him, then this article doesn’t provide any more factual basis than the average Facebook commentary, i.e. approaching zero.
    – Michael Maser




    •  
      Damien Gillis

      How so, Michael? The “re-treads” are sourced from media as competent and varied as CKNW, Global, The Vancouver Sun, The Tyee, and previous Common Sense Canadian stories. What’s unclear about the piece? Was my syntax muddled? My points indirect? I think it’s a pretty focused piece. What else are you complaining about? That I never reached out to Weaver for comment? I’ve wasted plenty of time in the past trying to set up interviews with Weaver, offering him an opportunity to rebut Rafe’s pieces, and been given the run-around. I’m under no obligation to offer Weaver a comment here – nor does that make the piece or Mr. Grant’s comments any less worthy journalistically…This sounds like sour grapes to me from a Green Party supporter who doesn’t wish to have their fantasy called into question.




      •  
        YourDisappointedMother

        Global and Vancouver Sun both competent sourced media who told voters to “hold their nose and vote Liberal”

        CKNW pro corporate establishment fodder 75% of the time.

        The sad part of this is that NDP voters are so focused on lashing out on Green Party voters.. they’re calling out all theses lies and manipulation allegations while using lies and allegations themselves..

        The Trophy hunt stance by Green is not good enough in my opinion either.. however it was Weavers bill that was voted in by both NDP and Liberals to try and at least decrease the numbers.. Claiming that NDP has a stronger stance is just false.. neither party is stepping up on the issue.. And if either did claim they flat out oppose it… how many people would then cry foul that they’re not taking into concern the aboriginals or local hunters “right” to hunt for food etc etc..

        The non committal stance about Greens teaming with Liberals is probably the most concerning issue for myself.. However that being said NDP’s non committal stance to opposing LNG is also concerning..

        The Liberals are by far the worse case scenario.. but the minority NDP voters that are spending their time, out right bashing the Green Party voters like they’re even worse than Liberal voters is the wrong way to go about trying to get your points across..

        Because like this author claims Green’s can’t help but have their fantasy called into question.. The NDP bloggers can’t help but throw in the occasional half truth, edited sound bite or just lies themselves.. and your shutting down your potential audience by doing so.

        You can learn or not… but you look and sound silly attacking half of your brothers and sisters that for the most part probably agree on the sam principles and politics as you do.




    •  
      Carol Topalian

      I’m inclined to agree with you. My impression of this article is somewhat more favourable though. The strongest point is the first one: IPPs and power. The rest is padding. If I had a dollar for every “then he got angry” story (Mulcair “angry Tom”; Trudeau “angry Justin and elbowgate”; Horgan: angry John; angry Andrew – well I’d have at least four dollars for starters). I’d be embarrassed to include that in an article – really makes a journalist look like they’re authoring the amateur hour special exposé. Realistically, compromise will happen – between political parties, especially if their turns out to be a coalition; between what will and will not be permitted, depending on federal/provincial jurisdiction [like the Kinder-Morgan pipeline], or between how little/much tarsands product is moved through rail or via pipeline and how much it is refined pre-shipping, and so-on. The Greens have the strongest environmental platform, and a solid left position on guaranteed income and public education; on ending housing speculation and big money lobbying. If Troy Grant wishes to inflict pain on the Green Party, this “October surprise” will do it, but it won’t dissuade voters. As for the IPP matter, I have some homework to do; Rafe Mair’s position is worth boning up on to get a clearer sense of the issue. Still voting Green tomorrow – remember David Suzuki has been painted as an a**hat at times, but what a great man, on balance; what a gift to planet earth.




  8.  

    Thank you for this handy summary.. I believe I’ve voted Green my entire life (going back 20yrs), but Weaver & Co have really eroded actual Green values.

    For myself as a vegan, his position on the trophy hunt is asinine and offensive, and the BC Green platform says NOTHING about any animal issues, even the Libs & NDP address it (and flat out oppose the trophy hunt.)

    They didn’t even bother to respond to my message on this when I wrote them on the day they released their platform.

    The BC Greens hardly represent my values, and I’m struggling to find a reason to vote for them.




  9.  
    Dave Fodor

    I believe the Kitimat Clean project as proposed is to transport the bitumen from Alberta to Kitimat in specially designed rail cars. Once in Kitimat, the bitumen will have to be heated to be removed.





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