MLA Adam Olsen in the house

These words, spoken by Adam Olsen, to the Legislative Assembly of BC, after the discovery of the first unmarked gravesite at Kamloops Indian Residential School, are worth lifting up, and hearing again.

One of the concerns around a federal election being called has been the way it sidelined and distracted focus from the ongoing revelations about the unacknowledged deaths at residential schools.

Let us be a community who commits to not looking away, not being distracted, not just going on holiday instead of sitting with the deep discomfort of this story of who we are and what we’re capable of.

“We know that if these children were not indigenous, but European, that we would not have been slow to act. IN our society, it’s just a fact that in Canada and British Columbia some children matter less. Underneath the shiny happy facade of Canada and British Columbia, lurks a shameful past. For 30 years my relatives have been sharing their experiences from these despicable institutes, and they have been hushed, they have been told Canadians don’t want to hear their stories, they were told to stop lying, to stop embellishing. For indigenous people this story is not shocking nor is it unimaginable. This is the trauma our families have carried for generation. When people ask me what our problem is, why don’t we pick ourselves up, they haven’t wanted to hear the answer.”

“You don’t have to imagine this. You just have to believe and care enough to act with the urgency as if it was your child that didn’t return home from school. These were kids going to school! Not coming home! Not being there when their parents were there to pick them up for Christmas.”

Adam Olsen (SȾHENEP) was elected Member of the Legislative Assembly for Saanich North and the Islands in 2017. He has been interim leader of the BC Green Party twice, first from 2013 to 2015 and again from January to September 2020. As a member of the BC Green Caucus, Adam serves as the Leader of the Third Party, Whip and Caucus Chair, in addition to serving on several all-party committees.

Adam is a member of Tsartlip First Nation (WJOȽEȽP) and was raised in W̱SÁNEĆ territory on the Saanich Peninsula, surrounded by the Salish Sea. His interest in communications led him to sports broadcasting, community and media relations. After a decade in the business, Adam’s focus turned to serving his community as an elected official.

Adam was twice elected as a Councillor of the District of Central Saanich. He served in that position from 2008 to 2012. He has served his community by building relationships and connecting people, bringing them together to find solutions for complex problems.

Born in Victoria, BC, Adam has lived, worked and played his entire life on the Saanich Peninsula where he and his wife, Emily, are raising their two children, Silas and Ella.

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