Left to right: Sonia Furstenau, Andrew Weaver, Adam Olsen - Photo via Twitter @BCGreens

In a surprise announcement on Wednesday, former B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver stated his decision to sit as an independent MLA in the BC Legislature.

Effective Monday, January 20th, Weaver will leave the BC Green Caucus and sit in the legislature as an independent.

See also: Andrew Weaver announces plans to step down from BC Green Party leadership

“As the leadership race unfolds, I believe that it is important for the BC Green Party to develop a new vision and voice independent from mine. My presence in the BC Green caucus could hinder that independence” Weaver said in a statement.

“Sitting as an independent will also give me a better opportunity during the upcoming legislative sitting to attend to personal matters, including a number of health challenges affecting my family.”

In the same statement, Weaver also announced his decision to resume his academic duties at the University of Victoria upon completion of his term as MLA.

“I entered politics to have a positive impact on the political discourse on climate change, and I am very proud of the accomplishments of the BC Greens under my leadership. I look forward to watching their continued growth under the party’s new leader,” he said.

See also: BC Green Party appoints Adam Olsen as interim party leader

This change is not expected to shift the balance of power held by the minority NDP government with the support of the Green Party in BC.

Weaver stepped down as leader of the Green Party on January 6th. Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, has been appointed interim leader of the party.

The Chair of the Green Party Provincial Council is expected to elect a permanent successor, in the early summer of 2020, sometime after the next spring legislative session.

Weaver was the Green Party’s first MLA in Oak Bay-Gordon Head in the 2013 provincial election, and was acclaimed as leader of party just two years later.

Back in September 2019, he fell ill just before his keynote address at the Canadian Propane Association BC Seminar and was hospitalized.

He was diagnosed with labyrinthitis, an inner ear disorder that can cause dizziness, nausea, loss of hearing, and vertigo.

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