BC Greens: Government made the right call, but damage already done

BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, in response to Premier John Horgan announcing a pause on its plan for a new Royal BC Museum to do further consultation, said: “The announcement of the billion-dollar rebuild was an indication of how out of touch the BC NDP is. Now is the time to demonstrate that they are going to focus on helping people. Healthcare in B.C. worsens every day, communities continue to suffer from climate emergencies, and the affordability crisis is intensifying.”

She added: “Governments need to be able to acknowledge when they’ve made a mistake, and I commend Premier Horgan for doing so – but it should not have taken weeks of massive public outcry and political calculations for them to realize that the public has other priorities.”

Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands and a member of Tsartlip First Nation, said: “It’s evident that the plan for a new Royal BC Museum was not well thought out, and now we are seeing the BC NDP in damage control. But the original announcement – and especially its framing as an act of Reconciliation – was out of touch and hurtful, especially when Indigenous Nations have been saying for years that their goal is to repatriate their items and ancestral remains.

“Today’s announcement was also a missed opportunity for the BC NDP to be very clear about what consultation and engagement will look like moving forward. We will applaud a consultation plan oriented towards free, prior and informed consent, but until we see a clear plan, I am worried – we have seen that this government is comfortable using consultation as a way to deflect transparency and accountability.

“On a final note, Indigenous People are here. We are vibrant, diverse, and alive. To have the premier continually refer to this project as ‘safeguarding our collective history’ is painful and completely undermines the living, breathing Indigenous Peoples we celebrated yesterday, on National Indigenous Peoples Day.”