Andrew Weaver, Leader Green Party

Victoria: Andrew Weaver is leaving British Columbia’s Green party to sit as an Independent.

The former party leader said Wednesday in a news release that he will continue to sit as the legislature member for the Victoria-area riding of Oak Bay-Gordon Head.

Green interim leader Adam Olsen said Weaver is facing health issues in his family and sitting as an Independent allows more time to balance competing health and work demands.

The B.C. Greens, who held three seats in the legislature prior to Weaver’s announcement, have an agreement to support the province’s minority NDP government.

When Weaver takes his seat in the legislature as an Independent, there will be 42 B.C. Liberals, 41 New Democrats, two Greens and two Independents. The other Independent is Speaker Darryl Plecas.

“After careful consideration, I feel it is best for all parties if I continue my legislative work as an Independent member prior to the beginning of the spring legislative session,” 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.”

The Greens plan to choose a new leader this summer.

Last October, Weaver announced he will not seek re-election in 2021. Weeks later, he announced he was stepping down as leader, paving the way for B.C. Greens leadership contest.

Weaver said he will start sitting as an Independent member of the house on Jan. 20.

Weaver is an internationally recognized climate scientist who was first elected to the legislature in 2013. He became leader of the party in 2015 after he was elected as the first Green in the provincial legislature.

Weaver also announced he will return to the University of Victoria to resume his academic career following the completion of his term as an MLA.

The Canadian Press