Three principles drive
Adam Olsen’s career

He opposes police accountability, sells out natives and
lacks environmental commitment. But the Green MLA
stands firm on his pay, perks and pension


Indigenous environmentalist Adam Olsen ponders the cause of police accountability

How did Green MLA Adam Olsen come to his conclusions on police accountability?


One damning tweet spoke volumes about British Columbia’s two Green MLAs and their lack of convictions. On the issue of police accountability, one of them had already demonstrated that.

Former British Columbia Green leader Andrew Weaver lashed out in this May 23 message:

My former colleagues @AdamPOlsen & @SoniaFurstenau were afraid to stand up to the BC NDP wrt to the LNG development. I was ready to go to election, but in my opinion, they were more interested in re-election than they were about standing up for @BCGreen principles.

Until they’re ready to retire, re-election is all most politicians care for, especially in the under-achiever playpen known as the B.C. legislature. Re-election builds their pay, perks and pensions, remuneration far beyond what most of them could earn in real jobs. Olsen and Furstenau, it turns out, differ not from their New Democrat and BC Liberal counterparts.

Olsen already made that clear on his legislative committees. These assignments add considerable bonuses to MLAs’ already exorbitant income. That huge rate of return isn’t just an incentive for re-election but an inducement to toe the line. Take a stand and you’ll miss out on future committee bonuses. Take too much of a stand and you’ll get kicked out of caucus and likely lose the next election, if you try running as an independent.

No doubt with that first principle in mind, Olsen did the establishment’s bidding in a 2018 legislative committee. Along with four other MLAs, three of them ex-cops, he recommended another ex-cop for the job of B.C.’s police complaint commissioner. That was Clayton Pecknold, a guy with zero career experience outside of cop or cop-friendly work.

The recommendation was unanimous, of course. That’s almost invariably the case despite the participation of different political parties, a fact that suggests special-interest influence transcends party lines. MLAs give every impression they’re taking orders from party enforcers. As a member of a party that had only three MLAs, Olsen gives the impression he takes orders from outside or maybe just goes along with the other committee members.

As part of that same committee, Olsen also expressed his “gratitude” to outgoing commissioner Stan Lowe. Olsen had to know—he had no excuse not to know—that his gratitude was going to an obviously corrupt scumbag with a history of cover-ups that includes at least one case that smacks of contempt for natives, as well as women, the poor and the disabled.

Olsen, BTW, is a native.

Indigenous Green MLA Adam Olsen showed deference to Stan Lowe and
Rollie Woods, two OPCC bosses who covered up Vancouver police officer
Taylor Robinson’s contemptuous assault on a disabled indigenous woman.
(Click the photo to see Robinson’s actions.)

Performance like that has to be rewarded. Olsen got another plum post the following year on the 2019 Special Committee to Review the Police Complaint Process. There, Olsen gave a respectful hearing to deputy police complaint commissioner Rollie Woods, a repugnant liar who also took part in the Robinson cover-up, among others.

Olsen helped rig the 2019 committee process, blocking an informed critical perspective and limiting participation to cops, ex-cops, natives and immigrants. The cops and ex-cops spoke on behalf of cops. The natives and immigrants didn’t know anything about police accountability.

The committee’s resulting recommendations support the secrecy and unaccountability at B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. That leaves the agency open to commit more cover-ups, even those showing additional contempt for Olsen’s own ethnic group.

Now Weaver has exposed Olsen’s lack of environmental convictions. That might not surprise people familiar with the car culture of southern Vancouver Island Green ridings, but it emphasizes the question: What does Olsen stand for, other than pay, perks and a pension plan he could never earn in a real job?

In that respect he’s no worse than many others, but it’s worth pointing this out to anyone who hoped that Green or native MLAs would somehow improve our political culture. (Another native collaborator on the 2019 committee was Ellis Ross, a BC Liberal MLA.)

The Greens’ former leader, on the other hand, doesn’t need the legislature’s inducements. As a highly accomplished mathematician and climate scientist, he can make more in academia. Probably because he’s accomplished, he expressed scornful frustration with his former Green colleagues’ flakiness, as well as their remunerative lack of convictions.

It’s Weaver who’s the odd one out in B.C.’s legislature, and maybe that contributed to his decision to quit politics. Olsen and Furstenau fit right in, with Olsen especially craven in his status quo support. But we need not accuse him of sacrificing principles. Other than his 3P entitlement, this over-ambitious under-achiever likely had none to begin with.

He’s a B.C. politician.

Read more about B.C.’s
Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
Go to News and Comment page