Green party leader Andrew Weaver has called on Environment minister Mary Polak

Greens call for Langley MLA Polak to resign as environment minister

Critic says provincial response to environmental crises has been subpar

Saying it’s time for Environment minister Mary Polak “to either do her job or step down” B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver has called on the Langley MLA to resign.

“I do not call for this lightly,” Weaver said.

“I now lack confidence in Minister Polak to uphold the obligations outlined in her ministerial mandate letter. As such, I am calling for her to be replaced by a minister who will stand up for the people of B.C. and the water and environment that we all rely on.”

Weaver said the Christy Clark government has crippled the Environment Minister’s ability to protect communities, citing as “subpar” the response to “environmental tragedies” like the Mt. Polley mine breach that spilled millions of cubic metres of tailings and mine waste into nearby waterways, the battle over a contaminated soil treatment facility and landfill near Shawnigan lake, and a diesel spill in the waters near Bella Bella.

“The ministry’s responsibilities have too often been neglected, forcing citizens to step in and try to protect the environment themselves,” Weaver said.

“It is appalling that the B.C. Liberals can look British Columbians in the eye and tell them that they have a climate leadership plan,” Weaver said.

“They are not climate leaders, and they don’t even have a plan.”

The Weaver statement included comments from Sonia Furstenau, CVRD Director and the B.C. Green Party candidate for Cowichan Valley, who said people in Shawnigan are “suffering from ongoing stress and anxiety while the Ministry of Environment allows for ongoing non-compliance with the contaminated landfill permit.”

As of Friday, over 1280 people have signed an online petition calling for the Environment Minister’s resignation, Weaver said.

In response, the environment ministry has issued a written statement that said the provincial government’s work to protect the environment has been “extensive” and marine spill response is a federal responsibility.

“Whether overhauling the century-old water act, launching a first-ever provincial spill response plan, legislating emissions limits on LNG facilities or maintaining the highest and broadest carbon price in North America, British Columbia is far ahead of the rest of Canada” the statement said.

It went on to say the province is pushing  the federal government to add more resources to handle marine spills.